Ejiofor Shines In Effective Sci-Fi Satire [Sundance]

Feb 13, 2023

Home Movie Reviews The Pod Generation Review: Ejiofor Shines In Effective Sci-Fi Satire [Sundance]

A good balance of emotional impact and humor, The Pod Generation warrants considerable discussion about the road to parenthood.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rosalie Craig, and Emilia Clarke in The Pod Generation

Ahead of its premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, The Pod Generation took home the prize for the Alfred P. Sloan Award, which goes to a feature that contains themes related to science or technology. The film asks the very important yet simple question, “What if women did not have to carry babies and could grow them in pods instead?” Directed and written by Sundance alum Sophie Barthes, the film tackles parenting from a philosophical lens with a satirical approach that never runs out of steam. Barthes’ world building is sensational and includes a breathtaking production design from Clement Price-Thomas. A good balance of emotional impact and humor, The Pod Generation warrants considerable discussion about the road to parenthood.

The story follows a New York couple, Rachel (Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke) and Alvy (Chiwetel Ejiofor), in a not-so-distant future where technology provides more convenient living. A rising tech company executive, Rachel lands an appointment at the Womb Center, which offers couples a convenient maternity by way of detachable artificial wombs, or pods. Alvy, on the other hand, a botanist with a fondness for all things nature, prefers a standard pregnancy. When the opportunity becomes too good to pass up, Rachel and Alvy commit to the pod. However, they soon learn that the road to parenthood via technology can be just as challenging as the “natural” way.

Related: Emilia Clarke & Chiwetel Ejiofor To Lead Bizarre New Sci-Fi Rom-Com

Sophie Barthes’ third feature, The Pod Generation humorously examines the idea of detachment parenting intertwined with technology and nature. In this creative and imaginative world, artificial intelligence (AI) makes coffee, tracks productivity, and assesses a person’s mood. For Rachel, that even means being able to concentrate on her career and maintain focus without the side distractions that come with carrying a baby to term. Barthes elegantly questions the morality and sensibility of tech-dependent childbearing, and in the process, develops a richly entertaining feature that will create meaningful discussions in the long run.

There’s a moment in The Pod Generation in which the satirical storytelling approach may teeter on a thin line of offensiveness for some viewers. Moments like Rachel’s elusive pregnancy dreams and awkward comments to relate to women with natural pregnancies are sure to garner eye-brow raises. However, Barthes is crafty in the right moments, dialing it back on satire exactly when she needs to, which can ultimately reel viewers in further. Her script appropriately balances the good, bad, and the ugly sides of technological convenience with respect to parenthood. And ultimately, it says a great deal about humanity’s reliance on convenience above everything else.

Though the script enables a watching experience that is intended to entertain, there are moments throughout Barthes’ latest that grips the heart. Within these moments, Clarke and Ejiofor command every scene with a compelling chemistry. While Clarke is reliable with her expressions and ability to commit to the emotional scenes as much as the funny ones, Ejiofor is the true standout. His character in The Pod Generation has a complete change of heart with respect to the detached womb. As Alvy, Ejiofor puts on a show-stopping performance that demands as much empathy as it does laughs. And even though the film overextends its stay with repetition, Clarke and Ejiofor’s efforts make it easy to remain fully engaged from beginning to end.

Full of humor to capture humanity’s overdependence on technology and heart to celebrate an unnatural road to parenthood, The Pod Generation is an entertaining feature that adequately explores various themes. The film includes exceptional world-building with an enticing score and set design to match. Additionally, Barthes’ thought-provoking script is backed by phenomenal performances from Clark and Ejiofor. And despite its longer-than-needed runtime, the feature is sure to keep audiences entertained from start to finish.

More: Alice, Darling Review: Anna Kendrick Excels In Piercing, Sensitive Drama

The Pod Generation premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival on January 19. The film is 109 minutes long and not yet rated.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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