2016-06-17 15:23

What it's about:

In an emotionless utopia, two people fall in love when they regain their feelings from a mysterious disease, causing tensions between them and their society.

What we thought:

Unlike other films that imagines an emotionless utopian world (The Gift, Equilibrium), Equals focuses more on the survival of love in such a world rather than outcasts trying to overthrow the system. What it lacks in action, it makes up for in emotional intensity and beautiful cinematography, strengthened by amazing performances from actors who are moving well beyond their mainstream fame.

In a distant future, society has managed to wipe out emotions from the human psyche, resulting in a peaceful society. This utopia is not perfect however, as a strange disease keeps on afflicting certain parts of the population, returning to them their lost emotions. While a cure is being actively researched, a young man (Nicholas Hoult) is diagnosed and starts to experience the world around him in a new light. He starts to notice that one of his colleagues (Kristen Stewart) has been able to hide the symptoms, and an illegal relationship blossoms.

I do hate soppy romance movies, but now and then one of substance comes around and makes me cry and cry and cry. Equals is anything but soppy, and despite being set in a sci-fi setting it felt more real than any romance set in some small hick town where class separates two lovebirds (looking at you Notebook).

Although it was extremely slow in gaining a rhythm, when it found its beat you couldn’t help but become enveloped in the doomed love of these two outcasts. And if you think a romance is predictable, it’s not. In the main climax you were kept on the edge of your seat hoping everything works out, but you just don’t know, because it’s one of those films that doesn’t lend itself to a slam-dunk happy ending. 

At first I thought Stewart and Hoult was an odd pairing, but they proved to work incredibly well together, both moving on at a fast pace from their teen-throb days. Hoult moved between emotionless and passionate states seamlessly with natural transitions, despite coming across as stalkery in some instances. Stewart sits well in the role, revealing small bodily hints that betray her repressed emotional state, and have come truly left her Bella days behind her. Both of them owned their roles and the film, and the writer was right in putting all the focus on them instead of crowding the story with too many characters.

With its cleanly designed production set and creative use of wide and close cinematography, Equals has that 60s style futuristic element from old sci-fi movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but as if a millennial graphic designer revamped it. It’s not a style I’m fond of, but on-screen it worked extraordinarily well with the framing of shots. 

Equals is a sci-fi romance masterpiece, a calculated but organic love that springs from a world that views it as a disease yet seems more realistic than your average rom-com in the city. Be prepared though for a daunting gauntlet of emotional pain.

Read more on:    nicholas hoult  |  kristen stewart  |  movies

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