Review: Advantageous

Jacqueline Kim in Advantageous

Advantageous is a beautiful film. Every frame is a work of art. It’s visually stunning in every possible way and worth seeing for that alone.

This science fiction drama is slow and quiet and doesn’t have a lot of exciting action. Yet, it vibrates with fear and tension in the quiet moments. It’s a film about hard choices. How does a mother give her daughter a chance at success in a world full of both extreme wealth and extreme hardship?

Spoilers ahead.

The technological advances over where we are in 2015 are interesting, especially the science. The cityscape of this future world is fascinating and dense – strange yet familiar.

Jacqueline Kim and Samantha Kim in Advantageous

The story, at its heart, is about the love of a mother and daughter. The mother, Gwen, is played by Jacqueline Kim for most of the film – I’ll explain what that means in a bit. The daughter Jules is played by Samantha Kim.

In this future world, Gwen is the spokesperson for an organization that promises cosmetic changes without surgery. They’ve found a way to transfer a human’s consciousness into a different body. Gwen’s job, her income, are in danger because she’s considered too old. The company wants someone younger. She looks for another job, she asks her family for help. There’s no new job. Her family shuns her because of errors from the past. She grows desperate.

Gwen lying on a bed in her street clothes
Gwen spends a lot of time thinking about her options.

Finally her only option is to go through a consciousness transplant herself. She considers it Jules’ only chance. In her new body, she will be the new spokesperson for the company and a living example of how well the procedure works. She will earn enough for her daughter’s schooling.

Of course, it doesn’t work as the company advertised. Her brain is cloned into the body of a Gwen played by Freya Adams. The new Gwen isn’t quite the same as the old Gwen.

Samantha Kim
Jules is wise for such a young person.

Jules’ reactions to her mother’s changes, as well as those of Gwen’s family, make up the last act of the film and are equally as interesting as the dilemma that drove Gwen to that choice in the first place.

The film is lyrically beautiful, touching, and powerful. It was written by Jennifer Phang and Jacqueline Kim and directed by Jennifer Phang. You can see the trailer here. The film is available on Netflix.

I’d love to hear your opinions about the film if you’ve seen it. Please feel free to leave a comment.

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