Foe is set in 2065. The earth is burned to a crisp. Hen (Saoirse Ronan) and Junior (Paul Mescal) live in an old house on a dried up farm. Late one night Terrance (Aaron Pierre) knocks on their door. He says he’s from the government and wants to recruit Junior to work for a year in a space station meant to save the human race.
Foe comes with a twist. While the human goes to work in the hazards of space, an identical biological simulant (a clone, sort of) stays behind to take their place while they are gone. Yes, the real person goes off to space while the copy stays home to have sex with dear little Hen so she doesn’t get lonely.
That isn’t the only hard to swallow aspect of this dreary sci-fi drama. The story drags, the writing is muddled and pure drivel half the time. Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal, good as they are, can’t save this plot or the dialog they have to spout.
There’s no water to farm the land. Junior works in a gigantic chicken processing plant. Hen works as a waitress in a nearby diner. They’re both miserable but won’t admit it. Terrance changes the dynamic when he shows up and peculiar things happen. He actually moves into the house with them so as to create a better copy of Junior to leave with Hen.
None of the characters are developed. We get more insight into Hen than the others. She’s lonely in the isolated farm house. She loves music and plays the piano. She wants to be around people. We have to know at least that much about her so there’s motivation for how the story ends.
Junior is a cypher and Terrance is completely unreadable. The film didn’t work for me as an exploration of a relationship/marriage or as a sci-fi adventure.
Lesson learned. Good actors with poor material can’t save a film. When you see interviews with actors they are always asked how they pick their projects. They say it’s in the script, it’s on the page. Obviously, that’s not a platitude.
The film was co-written and directed by Garth Davis. It’s streaming on Prime Video. Better luck next time to Mr. Davis.