Fashionable ladies are damned by the promise of “having all of it.” (Simply ask Barbie.) This lofty idea means that if we will simply determine the work-life stability, we will reach our careers, construct a thriving household, and discover the time for self-care and self-love. It’s very doable, so why do you suck at it?
“Having all of it” is a promise made by a capitalist society decided to promote us something from toiletries to expertise within the pursuit of happiness. The Pod Technology explores the absurdity of this all-too-common idea, setting its science-fiction comedy in a not-so-distant future the place AI assistants handle our home duties, apps monitor our diets, and being pregnant could be outsourced to a man-made womb that appears like a Steve Jobs moist dream.
Wealthy terrain for sci-fi dystopia like Black Mirror could be mined on this idea. Nonetheless, The Pod Technology comes from author/director Sophie Barthes, who broke by means of in 2009 with Chilly Souls, during which Paul Giamatti performs himself in a sci-fi thriller the place he exports his soul to flee the load of it. In her fingers, a narrative of a pair having a pod child turns into a intelligent and poignant comedy concerning the quirks of expertise, privilege, and the inhumanity of getting all of it.
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What’s The Pod Technology about?
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Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor are completely charming as Rachel and Alvy Novy, a middle-aged metropolitan couple who’ve achieved an array of standing symbols: a beautiful partner, a big condo adorned in a poshly minimalist type, a trip house upstate, and jobs of energy and status. However there are sharp contrasts between the 2.
Rachel is an eternally poised government who wears pressed grey fits and works at a standing desk with a treadmill so she could be as productive as doable. Alvy’s a rumpled botany professor with a beard and a closet filled with T-shirts. The place she works in a excessive rise filled with different execs from her identical prim mould, he is an eccentric begging his college students to actually hug bushes and admire the non-hologram vegetation that manages to outlive on this ludicrously synthetic age of oxygen bars and 3D-printed toast.
So in the case of having a child, Alvy’d desire the pure method: intercourse resulting in Rachel bodily carrying a toddler in her womb. However hey, what trendy mother has time for that? Beneath intense strain from her friends, Rachel pursues a pod being pregnant; utilizing in vitro fertilization, the fetus gestates in a big, plastic egg that serves as a man-made womb whereas they go on residing their lives uninterrupted till their due date. Nonetheless, the trail to parenthood proves trickier and trippier than both might think about.
Sophie Barthes’s The Pod Technology offers us a future that is humorous and unnervingly acquainted.
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Barthes lays out a Black Mirror state of affairs the place at first it is simple to be enchanted by the AI and digital outsourcing of tedious human duties, like making breakfast or choosing out an outfit. A shade palette of creamy pastels makes a lot of the movie really feel like strolling right into a society based on an ethos of “Dwell, Giggle, Love.” The whole lot is gentle however sterile, uncomplicated by individuality or the messiness of humanity or nature.
Rachel begins comfy with all of this, smiling placidly on the workplace and earnestly sharing her ideas together with her therapist, who can also be AI and appears like an unlimited eye surrounded by flowers. Rachel’s conversations with associates echo any variety of widespread brunch talks, besides now the phrases of self-empowerment are employed to justify “detachment parenting,” the place the mother and father contribute their genetic materials after which can basically deal with their fetus like a Tamagotchi, feeding it by way of an app and making a playlist for it to listen to in digital utero. Besides a Tamagotchi will die if left untended, and actually, the Womb Heart would not want the mother and father concerned in any respect. Nevertheless it is an possibility.
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Regardless of the admittedly tempting ease of this expertise, Alvy shouldn’t be satisfied by the trendy obsession with the factitious as superior. He likes to have his fingers in actual grime and pleads passionately for the sweetness and splendor to be present in nature. And but, as soon as his future baby is in a pod, its plastic casing can’t break his connection to it.
There is a candy silliness to watching each mother and father wrestle to strap the egg on to put on BabyBjörn-style, fumbling of their new physicality. Extra slicing comedy comes from how the broader world reacts to their out-of-fashion doting. Moms mock the fathers who’re enthusiastic to share in some semblance of carrying a being pregnant, and a feminine co-worker scolds Rachel for bringing the pod to work: “You do not need to be labeled because the distracted mother.”
A slicing critique of capitalism co-opting the language of feminism and self-care is explored by means of these conversations, in addition to by means of the representatives of the Womb Heart. The face of the Womb Heart is — in fact — a rich white man with an unwavering smile who speaks with unearned confidence concerning the glory of maternity. His much less cuddly counterpart is the Womb Heart Director (a mesmerizing Rosalie Craig), who speaks in a tone that’s sharply pleasant but undeniably intimidating, possibly even vaguely threatening. Collectively, they make the “choices” provided really feel extra like a cult command, pushing the viewers and these soon-to-be mother and father to crave escape.
At its core, The Pod Technology is about love.
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Past the vegetation and parenthood, The Pod Technology rages slyly towards conformity. The concept that there may be one finest approach to do something clearly rankles Barthes, who challenges her characters to go outdoors their consolation zones to search out what they love, and what they’d do to struggle for that.
To raised discover the needs of a heroine who has been socialized to be nice and conforming, Barthes permits us into Rachel’s goals. There, the pastel aesthetic nonetheless has a grip on her, however her imaginative and prescient of herself is of somebody able to softness and transformation, and comfy in that pursuit. This surreal thread interweaves with Alvy’s shock pleasure in fostering their pod. After which the third act rebels. Some critiques out of the movie’s Sundance debut complained it units up a sci-fi world that its climax would not repay. Nonetheless, this too is essential to Barthes’s plea for the worth of individuality.
Regardless of its broad title, The Pod Technology shouldn’t be concerning the vast world or an entire technology. It is about one single household and the way they resolve to grow to be one. Inside that story, Barthes delivers a comedy that’s intelligent, enchanting, thrillingly distinctive, and unapologetically tender. It additionally may make you second-guess tech billionaires who promise you all the things in an app, and to be a bit extra doubtful of anybody or something promoting you contentment on the click on of a button.
Pod Technology opens in theaters Aug. 11.