Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Advantageous" - A Film Review

I was able to catch a limited Netflix screening of a new science fiction film written by Jacqueline Kim and Jennifer Phang titled “Advantageous.” Kim produces and stars as the film’s protagonist named Gwen. Phang directed the feature. Kim is best known by sci-fi fans as Demora Sulu, the daughter of Captain Hikaru Sulu of Star Trek fame. The film co-stars James Urbaniak (Agent Carter), Jennifer Ehle (Fifty Shades of Grey), Ken Jeong (Hangover) and Freya Adams (The Slap).

“Advantageous” follows Gwen and her 13-year old daughter played by Samantha Kim as they face a more than likely future of hardship and poverty after Gwen loses her high profile job with a health and plastic surgery conglomerate. She once held the position of spokesperson for the plastic surgery division but with the onset of middle age the company is looking to replace her with a younger face to reach that growing demographic.

Although this near-future society is quite opulent the decline is beginning to set in even though humankind has reached its zenith in technological advancement. However, with more and more jobs now being performed by robotic human-like androids work is becoming more scarce. With few openings available women in the workplace are becoming a rarity with all the advancements women had achieved over the last 100 years prior to this age being dwindled away with more women joining the ranks of the unemployed and homelessness. Only those women lucky enough to be self-employed in a business that still has demand are free from the overshadowing economic hardship. Gwen, being an employee of a large corporation now finds herself among the unemployable.

To make it even harder for Gwen, her daughter is a virtual genius and highly gifted artist with a promising future if able to attend the best schools. However, the cost is now totally prohibited and without the right connections almost impossible to surmount those hallowed halls of advance learning.

All this leads Gwen to make a decision that will drastically and forever change her relationship and close-knit bond with her daughter but will ensure her daughter a future unfettered by the growing problems now being shared by most women in society.

“Advantageous” isn't your typical science fiction film found coming out of Hollywood these days. There are no over-the-top special effects, except perhaps the downtown skyscrapers that have beautiful cascading waterfalls oozing from their top floors — that was pretty cool. There are no big explosions, aliens invading, or outer space adventures. This is one of those rare kind of sci-fi movies that is designed for the thinking person looking to have their mind and heart challenged without the need to put aside their rational brain. Even the concept of the transference process revealed in the movie isn't beyond logical comprehension.

I liked this movie. It was well written, exquisitely delivered. Jacqueline Kim was exceptional. Even though the film moves at a snail’s pace in some parts it more than makes up for that with real thought provoking ideas about humanity, its future and relationships in a highly technological society.

I give “Advantageous” * * * 1/2 out of 5 Stars.