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Every now and again, I’ll watch a film that reiterates an old theory which states that fictional stories can no longer be completely original. With a few thousand years of recorded literary history, many great stories rely on elements that have been used previously. So what makes a movie viewer feel like they saw something great and unique? It is when the story, the acting and the visuals combine in way that makes it feel relevant, unique, refreshing, modern and/or unexpected. When a film fails to suck me in, then my mind starts wandering, and I start thinking about where I have seen or heard something similar in the past. Such was my problem while watching Drake Doremus’ (writer and director of Like Crazy (2011)) new film, Equals.

Equals opens in a futuristic society where humans have been bred to live without emotions and diseases. They live in a crowded, unsocial world full of modern technology but devoid of color and art. Any sign of emotions is considered a defect and people are expected to immediately seek medical attention. Two members of the society Silas, played by Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)), and Nia, played by Kristen Stewart (Twilight (2008)) work in close proximity to one another. They realize that they are both suffering from the defect. The two proceed to comfort each other, which causes them to develop an emotional attachment. An illicit love affair follows which must be hidden from the rest of society for their personal safety.

The slow moving film caused my wandering mind to repeatedly find similarities to other stories. With elements of Romeo and Juliet, and an all too common portrayal of a dystopian future in which individuality has been eliminated, Equals suffers from a lack of originality. In addition, numerous contradictions are prevalent throughout the movie which gave the impression that it was not well thought out and the vast contrast between the main characters’ outpouring of emotions within an emotionless society did not have the desired effect of increasing the viewers ties with Nia and Silas. Equals fails to stand out, and does not add enough interesting and unique reasons to invest the time.

Equals is streaming now on the following services:
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