Feminist February continues! This week is Christa’s pick, it’s sci-fi, it’s about ageism, and it’s written/directed by and starring women. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Where to Watch:
In the near-ish future, a middle-aged woman undergoes a dramatic procedure to keep her job and secure her daughter’s future.
The Uncondensed Version:
Gwen is a career woman, mother, and face of her company. She has a lot going for her even in the somewhat disconcerting future she lives in.
Everyone has a little flying UFO-type aircraft to zip around the city. Well…it occurred to me that in the future (as in the present), only rich people will be able to afford really cool shit like that. Thus all of my enthusiasm for the future has been crushed.
Gwen’s daughter, Jules, is having a hard time understanding the world they live in, esp. as most things have gone to shit. Jules didn’t get in to the exclusive prep school she applied to, she may not have eggs by the time she’s 20, and she feels that humanity’s awareness of how bad things are has done nothing to alter the course of history (she has a point there).
Though Gwen tries to remain optimistic and instill a sense of hope in her daughter, things go from bad to worse when she is let go as the face of her company, which specializes in radical procedures to help women (and I mean, probably men too, but mostly women. Fucking patriarchy) maintain a youthful appearance. The latest procedure is experimental—it involves transferring one’s brain into a younger body. Of course it does. And guess who is too old to be the face of the company?
So Gwen is fired and immediately calls her…agent? He seems to be a robot named Drake, which cracked me up every time. At one point, Gwen asks “Drake, are you a human being?” Valid question, Gwen. Drake is really unhelpful and suggests Gwen donate eggs…which will earn her money in a few months. Not going to help when Gwen needs to live and somehow afford a $10,000 down payment to reserve a spot at a fancy private school.
Guess where this is going. Guess. Yeah, Gwen decides to be a guinea pig for the procedure in which her identity and memories are transferred to a new body. She continues to reinforce to her daughter, who has some major preteen angst, that she is a beautiful, strong young lady.
Gwen and Jules spend Christmas together. Jules draws quite a nice portrait of Gwen. Gwen reminds her that the wisdom and kindness Jules has is the secret beauty everyone wants. Cue the waterworks.
Shortly after, the time to undergo the procedure arrives. The way this film builds to the inevitable conclusion is brilliantly done, but still feels jarring. There is no other option for Gwen as the external (and internal) pressures build on her. However, I kept trying to find ways around the ending as it’s not going to conclude happily for anyone, really. As more is revealed about the procedure, this film becomes increasingly horrifying/sad/wrenching.
4/5 Pink Panther Heads
Chilling. Make sure you have a cat to hug immediately following viewing.