Advantageous

In a near-future city where soaring opulence overshadows economic hardship, Gwen and her daughter, Jules, do all they can to hold on to their joy, despite the instability surfacing in their world.

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  • ★★★½ review by Mr. DuLac on Letterboxd

    There is nothing fiercer then a mother's love.

    -Gwen

    Smart science fiction that challenges the viewer with ideas and social commentary on gender equality and race. Written by Jennifer Phang and Jacqueline Kim while Phang directs and Kim stars.

    What I loved is that it's commentary wasn't only about today's society, but the past and future. While women want the next generation to have it better, are their sacrifices simply a vicious cycle that continues with simply the environment changing over time?

    It's highlighted by a great performance from Jacqueline Kim in a film that suggests the same issues for women might never go away, instead certain aspects are simply more subtle while others are more extreme.

    It has as much to say about our past as our future.

  • ★★★½ review by Steve Kimes on Letterboxd

    A smart film of insight that I wish had better technical skill.

    A future in which technology has expanded, but social morality has shrunk. A new ability to transfer minds into fresh, new bodies has emerged... and it becomes necessary because women have become even more sexualized, with children openly being prostitutes and older women unable to retain their work because they lack the conventional beauty they once had.

    I love the way the film explores the personal aspects of sexual oppression, and how it relates to family and one's social life. But the CGI was awful, completely distracting and the editing was choppy. Still, there was some great acting by "unconventional-looking" artists, and it is wonderful to see Asian-Americans placed in non-stereotypical lead and supporting roles.

  • ★★★½ review by D K on Letterboxd

    Jennifer Phang (director and co-writer) and Jacqueline Kim (lead actress and co-writer) collaborate on the compact, capable and eerily pretty Advantageous. It's notable for being a piece of speculative sci-fi by an Asian woman director—representation matters, and more diverse points of view means more diverse stories, especially in genres normally dominated by majority voices.

    The film's plot is a familiar slice of sobering post-humanism, but its real gifts are its meditations on standards of beauty, the responsibilities of motherhood, and the crunching pressures of class warfare. I also enjoyed the attention to detail put into the near-future setting, a depressed future where bombs erupting across the city skyline are a scary, but wholly commonplace event.

  • ★★★★ review by Andi B. Goode on Letterboxd

    #49 of 52 Films by Women

    A quietly impactful film that has a lot to say about gender, ageism and race through the narrative of Gwen (Jacqueline Kim), a woman who is forced to go to drastic measures after she is fired for basically being too old. Kim is magnificent as Gwen (Kim also co-wrote the script with director Jennifer Phang) and it's just a crime she's not starring in more features.

    It also has a very touching mother/daughter relationship at its centre (Gwen seems nearly entirely motivated by doing what's best for her daughter's future), which will always draw me in. There are some achingly beautiful moments between Gwen and her daughter Jules (Samantha Kim). They are the heart of the film, really.

    It's slick and stylish and very understated in its vision of a dystopian future, using cool tones and lots of light to make everything feel...sterile. I love my sci-fi (nearly) any way I can get it, but it's quiet, thoughtful films like this that get under my skin and stay with me. Some of the points it makes are, perhaps, a little obvious but sometimes I think plain speak is better than a whole heap of metaphors and allusions.

    It's on Netflix AU and I believe other countries, so check it out if you can.

  • ★★★★ review by Alex Kittle on Letterboxd

    Very thoughtful, understated, refreshingly female-focused sci-fi.

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