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A while back, we reported on a new documentary that sought to pull back the curtain on America’s fraternities and the rituals and secrets behind them. I know, I know, those are a dime a dozen. However, This World: Frat Boys is a refreshing take on the fraternity documentary that successfully presents all the sides of its story.
These kinds of documentaries are usually made by outsiders who aren’t very familiar with Greek life, and the filmmakers behind Frat Boys are the ultimate outsiders, what with being British and all. The documentary examines a few of the fraternities at the University of Central Florida, including the notorious Gazoni Family, a rogue fraternity that doesn’t have to abide by school and IFC regulations.
At first I thought that the film crew were intentionally trying to make the guys seem like douchebags, but then I realized that they were just really, really insufferable. Put a camera in front of them and the results will be cringeworthy. The guys had to know that they would be many peoples’ first look into what Greek life is all about, and they ended up looking like a bunch of ass clowns. One criticism I do have is that the film mostly portrays the pledge process of a rogue fraternity, so it could give people the wrong idea about what pledging actually is.
Frat Boys also takes a look at the other side of the coin. They interview people in the administration and student body about some of the negative aspects of fraternity life such as sexual assault and wrongful deaths, and we get to hear the stories of people who have lost loved ones to hazing and partying-related deaths. The documentary shines a light on sexual assault in the Greek community, painting a picture of the challeges the community faces as well as all the factors at work in the disciplinary process.
Though it does show a lot of unsavory things about Greek life, Frat Boys doesn’t let itself get preachy, self-righteous, or lopsided in its portrayals. It simply puts the information out there and lets you decide what you want to take away from it. It’s a fine piece of work from some of our friends across the pond, and I would recommend checking it out if you want to see a relatively balanced outsider’s view of American fraternity life. In lieu of giving this thing a numerical score or anything like that, I’ll just say that you could do a lot worse on Netflix..