Film Review: The Pod Generation (2023)

Sophie Barthes’ near-future The Pod Generation is a low-key, thoughtful piece of sci-fi

“I don’t remember signing up for that”

One of the dangers with accelerated technological progress is knowing when too far is actually too far. Sophie Barthes’ film The Pod Generation is set in an AI-dominated near-future where such questions have become pressingly pertinent, particularly where fertility is concerned. In a world where tech is winning out over nature, what price conformity to rapidly evolving new norms?

Rachel and Alvy have decided that they want to start a family and in this hi-tech age, her high-flying tech company job means she can secure a place at the Womb Center which enables couples to share pregnancy via detachable artifical wombs. She’s mad keen as it will minimise the disruption to her body and career; him less so, since as a botanist he’s clinging onto any chance to connect to the natural order.

What plays out is something closer to a rom-com than a sci-fi thriller and the result is something that low-key rather quite charming. Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor have great chemistry as the opposites-attract couple and there’s pleasing complexity in each’s individual journey through the pregnancy, particularly in the closeness that Alvy is afforded through this approach even against his better judgement.

The vibe is understated throughout but there is a conviction to the way in which the fertility journey has been so thoroughly commercialised that feels entirely authentic, not least because Rosalie Craig is beyond superb as the Womb Center Director. Vinette Robinson is also good as Rachel’s colleague and Kathryn Hunter pops up as a Post Office worker – what more could you want!

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