A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Evolution is an arty French sci-fi movie (with English subtitles) that's hard to explain. It seems to be about a dystopian future (or place) in which women forcibly impregnate young boys -- perhaps an attempt to turn the tables on traditional male/female roles? Its imagery is often nightmarish and unsettling and perhaps even sickening. There's some gore and blood, as well as the body of a dead boy, hospital scenes with injections, fetuses in jars, a limb crushed and severed from a starfish, and brief fighting between boys. The grown women are shown naked, frequently from the side, but sometimes their breasts and bottoms are visible. This is the kind of movie that people "looking for something different" might appreciate, but it's slow and unpleasant and won't likely be to the taste of most sci-fi fans.
What's the story?
In EVOLUTION, a young boy named Nicolas (Max Brebant) who's living in some kind of dystopian future (or an alternate reality, or another planet) finds the body of a dead boy floating in the water. His mother (Julie-Marie Parmentier) checks it out and announces that there is no dead boy. But she's lying, and it's revealed that the women who run this world are secretly using the boys in unusual medical procedures: It seems that they're actually causing new children to grow within the boys' bodies. But a nurse (Roxane Duran), moved by Nicolas' drawings, makes a decision to change his fate.
Is it any good?
This strange, austere sci-fi art film may engage viewers looking for something different, but for most, it will be a queasy, unsettling experience, requiring much patience for little reward. Director/co-writer Lucile Hadzihalilovic seems to want to say something about reproductive rights, but her tone is heavy and oppressive, as if she doesn't trust the audience to come to the correct conclusion. The movie spends many long, quiet moments either pondering or stretching out the thin story.
From its sci-fi scenario, the movie elicits basic questions, including: Where do the women come from if only boys are around? And just how does this awful society work on a day-to-day basis? As mysterious and beautifully filmed as it is, Evolution nonetheless seems more intent on message-making than on storytelling. It may well leave you cold.
Talk to your kids about ...
What does the movie seem to be saying about reproduction and male/female roles? Does a movie need to have a clear message to be effective?
Why do you think the nurse rescues Nicolas and sets him free? What's different about him? What connection do they have?
How does Evolution compare to other brainy sci-fi movies you've seen?
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