What the heck is Brie Larson’s deal? I find myself asking this question whenever one of her bizarre Twitter posts crosses my feed, or when I look up from my phone long enough to catch one of her Nissan commercials on TV. Larson is an undeniably talented actress — she won an Oscar age of 26 — and notable public figure/role model. But, for whatever reason, she insists on maintaining a public persona akin to that of a Mormon-adjacent lifestyle influencer who peaked in 2016. Just look at this:
The Captain Marvel star’s social feeds are full of posts like the one above: fake candid photos of Larson reading, working out, and just standing around, paired with captions carefully crafted to make her seem like your average 32-year-old. The problem is that we all know she is a very wealthy and beautiful celebrity, so a photo of her quirkily perched on a swing with a caption that reads “See a swing, ride a swing ✨” feels cloying. Who is she trying to relate to? Me? I am very aware that we are not the same; is she?
Among celebrities, Larson has a truly singular social media persona. Other stars at her level take different paths: Some people have a real personality that comes through in their weird posts (Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Garner), some people use their Instagram mostly to share work-related posts (Natalie Portman). Several prominent members of Larson’s generational cohort (Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Olsen) don’t even have an internet presence. Larson, on the other hand, has chosen to post all the time. She posts photos of herself alone, of herself with her boyfriend (the actor Elijah Allan-Blitz), of herself with books and gym equipment and food — but one thing she does not post is any evidence that she has friends.
This raises the question: Does Brie Larson have friends? Does she have people in her life that give it meaning, or who could, at the very least, roast her for being mega-corny on the internet?
Let us look at the grid. The last time Larson posted anything about having a friend was last June in honor of National Best Friend Day; she posted a picture of herself and actress Jessie Ennis, whom Larson described in the caption as “the other half of my best friend necklace.” Larson and Ennis met more than a decade ago while doing a production of Our Town at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. In 2021, they took their friendship to the next level by becoming podcast partners, hosting the show Learning Lots together (the gist was that they were best friends who talked about things). By June 2021, they were still going strong; in a video for Glamour titled “Brie Larson and Jessie Ennis Take a Friendship Test,” they exchange inside jokes and share fond memories, all clear signs of a dear friendship. Larson tells Ennis, “I love you forever, and forever is a darn long time.”
So okay, maybe Larson has one friend. Neither Ennis nor Larson have posted about each other since their podcast released the final episode of its first season last November. But, you know, they’re both busy working actresses — maybe they just haven’t had the time to hang out and publicly celebrate their friendship for podcast promotional purposes.
Judging from Larson’s Instagram, though, it seems like she hasn’t had time to hang out with anyone lately. Since the beginning of this year, she has posted six photos of herself with Allan-Blitz, seven photos of her with someone she either employs or works with, one bizarre plug for some metaverse scheme she’s part of, and 56 photos or videos of her by herself.
On her YouTube channel — where the output is decidedly less frequent — there are a couple signs of human contact. Of the eight videos that Larson has uploaded so far this year, two feature other people. One is of Larson making Jack in the Box tacos with TikTok chef Joshua Weissman. The other video follows her and two women going to the beach to “work” for the day. We actually do not know who these people are because Larson never tells us. Friends? Coworkers? Employees? We’ll never know.
Okay, well, maybe Larson is just a private person. Maybe she doesn’t want to share everything about her life on the internet, regardless of her clear compulsion to post multiple times a week. But surely she’s been papped enjoying a night out with a friend, yes? No. There are currently nearly 200 sets of Brie Larson photos on the paparazzi service Backgrid — going to yoga, going to film premieres, leaving restaurants — and not a single pal in sight.
I should note that Brie Larson did have friends at one point. If you google “Brie Larson friends,” you will learn that she had them in 2017. This era was the peak of #squadgoals, and Larson’s squad included Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Lena Dunham, and Amy Schumer. “That [group of friends] saved my life,” Larson told Vanity Fair five years ago. “I was able to talk with them about everything that was going on in my life, and it was with people who had been through it before and are also hilarious. That support and acceptance was everything. I was home-schooled, so I didn’t have friends that had the same interests as me, and I found it to be absolutely incredible.”
Since then, all of those women have gotten married, and three out of the four have had children. Even the most resilient squads would find it hard to stay super tight when most of their members are working mothers.
So where does that leave Brie Larson? My suspicion is that she is lonely. I think she mostly works and hangs out with her boyfriend; we all know that girl. I also have a hunch that the pandemic broke her brain a little bit. She started her YouTube channel in July of 2020, around the same time that her Twitter posts took on that unique, uncanny Larson tone of an AI-generated “hot, random girl” caption. For example, take a look at a fairly standard Larson post from before the pandemic:
Using Twitter like Google is a classic famous person move, and, honestly, one that I respect.
Now let’s take a look at one of her posts mid-pandemic:
Lying in bed? In a sheer nightgown? While playing a Taylor Swift song on electric guitar? This woman has an Academy Award. She has nothing to prove to me. And yet here she is, capitalizing on the release of Red (Taylor’s Version) for engagement, when I’m certain she could have just gotten Swift’s email if she wanted to pass along kind words.
Sure, she may be getting more social media likes and comments than ever before from this strange posting strategy, but I believe that if Larson had a really solid group of friends around her, she wouldn’t be such a weirdo online. A consultant probably told her at some point that having a recognizable brand is important, but a real pal would tell her that her current brand is really off-putting and she’s constantly getting roasted in the quote tweets. That’s what true friends are for.