It has taken me this long into the semester to hit that precious, fleeting, verge-of-tears-but-trapped-in-contemplation moment, but finally here we are. Advantageous completely blindsided me. I expected some low/middle future tech and pontification on the meaning of humanity and all that jazz found in most every indie sci-fi film. I did not expect it, however, to hit an emotional vein so specific. Sure, there were many hints at a broader theme about a human’s place in a rapidly advancing world; we even see a violent terrorist attack as it happens, and no one seems too shaken up about it. But most of the broad themes and overt science fiction elements live in the corners of a very lived in world. By eschewing these well-trodden grounds, Advantageous is able to explore a very real relationship in a purely hypothetical context.
The real emotional meat of Advantageous is Gwen and Jules’ relationship. Very rarely is a single mother-daughter relationship explored in cinema. Which is unfortunate, because the dynamic of that kind of relationship is very potent. From an outsider’s perspective, what Gwen does for the sake of her daughter is almost unfathomable. She’s been beaten around by the world and yet still has hope that her progeny will make a positive impact. What she does to secure her future is tantamount to suicide. And not only that, Gwen must now continue life without the drive for her daughter that brought her to that point.
This film utterly surprised me. It took me by the hair and gave me a shot right to the guts. It utilizes science fiction conceits to express a relationship dynamic that could never really exist in the world. Gwen sacrifices her life for her daughter, and now Jules must live with a stranger that shares only the memories of her mother.
Advantageous does not ask if we would do something like this. It merely shows the ramifications thereof. But would you still?