“The Pod Generation”

Science Fiction stories are almost always interesting or intellectually stimulating, and on paper, the idea behind “The Pod Generation” sounds like a good premise. This female-focused satire of how technology, consumerism, nature, and detached parenting co-exist in modern society starts off strong but quickly falters. Writer / director Sophie Barthes simply cannot figure out where she wants her story to go, and she hits the brakes before ever getting it up to speed.

Artificial Intelligence is the rage in the near future, and actual nature has been pushed aside for convenience in everyday life. Botanist Alvy (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his business executive wife Rachel (Emilia Clarke) would love to become parents, but she’s consumed by her work and has time for little else. One morning, the couple gets the exciting news: they’ve landed a coveted spot at the exclusive Womb Center, a very expensive service that provides artificial wombs (known as “pods”) to grow their new baby. It’s a way Rachel can become a mother while not giving up on her career, and it’s a very popular option. Although Alvy would prefer a natural pregnancy, he gives in to make his wife happy.

It’s a smart and timely idea for a film, especially at a time where no woman can claim to be completely free until she has full control over her own reproductive system. There’s a real truth to women being forced to make a choice between a career or motherhood, and it’s often inconvenient to have kids while just starting out in the world. In Barthes’ imagined future, the birth rate has declined so much that the need for pods is becoming a necessity, and they are a way to empower women to become mothers while also forging ahead on their career path. All of these themes are worthy of serious conversation, but the film is all bark and no bite.

“The Pod Generation” questions the human relationship with and dependency on technology, but it doesn’t push boundaries far enough. It seems like there’s a sharper feminist-minded film somewhere within this one that’s just waiting to get out. Until then, maybe what we all really need is to just unplug and breathe in some fresh mountain air.

By: Louisa Moore

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