The Pod Generation
August 11th, 2023
MOVIE: THE POD GENERATION
STARRING: EMILIA CLARKE, CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, ROSALIE CRAIG
DIRECTED BY: SOPHIE BARTHES
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
There may not be a more frustrating movie in 2023 than The Pod Generation. Here is a science fiction story presenting a brilliant look at what the future of conception could look like. It gives a view into a couple struggling with this new way but has no idea what else to do with that. It features two great leads Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor and has them watching their little baby pod egg for an hour and forty minutes. The Pod Generation has big ideas but does not deliver on all of its potential.
The setting is a futuristic New York, where everything is aided or assisted by some form of AI, like Siri or “Hey Google”. Clarke plays Rachel Novy, a high-climbing businesswoman in the marketing world, someone who has always put her career above any family aspirations. Her husband Alvy (Ejiofor) is a professor and botanist. In these future standards, Alvy is a relic, dealing in science that is neither wanted nor needed. Want to look at plants? They have holograms for that. Oxygen is no longer a fear in everyone’s domed environment. The old world is slowly fading and the new world of artificial lifestyles is the way to go, even when it comes to the decision to have a family.
At first, Rachel expresses that she might not want a child, and even if she did Alvy would like to do it naturally. When a coveted spot opens up at the Birthing Center, with Rachel’s name next on the list, it becomes now or never, and after conversations, they decide to take the spot. Originally, it is something Alvy wants nothing to do with and Rachel becomes obsessed with the process. But when Rachel convinces Alvy to get more involved, he becomes obsessed, more interested than ever before. The baby growing process is what the couple wants control over and in this world with science monitoring and strict rules, the two of them realize that they never had control of their baby in the first place.
From the visual and the inventive side, there is much to applaud, even marvel at in The Pod Generation. The set design of offices, the invention of an all-seeing eye virtual therapist- it takes the human out of therapy-, or just the science behind the baby egg. It looks like a giant Tamagotchi egg, complete with an iPad screen so you can see your baby in its cocoon. From the narrative side, writer/director Sophie Barthes has something, but the best conflict they can come up with is that both parents go through their own internal struggles in the process. I kept waiting for something more sinister from the corporation of the Birth Center or at least a stronger analysis of how technology is running our ability to connect.
It’s not all a failure but it feels like a greatly missed opportunity. Clarke is good and Ejiofor can do this in his sleep. Plus, The Pod Generation is picking at relevant topics, such as women’s right to choose, how changing technology can be conflicting with our psychology, and a dissection of the medical profession. There’s much to think about, but that would happen if The Pod Generation actually wanted to talk about those things. It’s only scratching the surface of life’s bigger questions. This is a movie that needed to explore things outside of the pod.
THE POD GENERATION IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS FRIDAY AUGUST 11TH, 2023.
Written by: Leo Brady