By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Unpleasant, unsettling French sci-fi art film.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Muddled message about reproductive rights and the concept of forcing others to give up control of their bodies; conveyed in an angry way, with mainly negative connotations.
Positive Role Models
Hardly any characters at all, much less any whose actions might be emulated.
Violence & Scariness
A dead boy is found in the water. A boy cuts his hand and gets stitches. Boys fight and shove each other. A limb is smashed and severed from a starfish. Operating room scenes include injections and disturbing/nightmarish imagery. Fetuses in jars. Characters watch gory material on a disturbing, graphic video. Throwing up blood. Other unsettling imagery. Bloody nose.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Women are shown naked, sometimes with breasts/bottoms on view, and sometimes but from the side. A woman kisses an older boy in a vaguely inappropriate way.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
A boy calls another boy "coward."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 2 parent reviews
Heavy Thought Provocative Theme of Myths
Report this review
Report this review
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 ...
Families can talk about Evolution's violence and horror imagery. What effect did it have on you, and how did it go about achieving that effect?
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?
- In theaters: November 23, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: March 21, 2017
- Cast: Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, Julie-Marie Parmentier
- Director: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
- Studio: IFC
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 81 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 26, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Science Fiction Books
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate