Check out one of my older reviews, originally written for and published by Roaring Gold! In this piece, I discuss The Girl with All the Gifts, the blockbuster based on the novel of the same name by M.R. Carey.
The world that we live in is brimming with various forms of oppression, all of which can and do intersect. Often, it is the younger generation which must lead the way forward, to see the direction that the world is going in, the world left to them by those whom are older and should be wiser, and decide that a change should be made for the better. In this post-apocalyptic zombie thriller, Melanie (Sennia Nanua) find herself in an unbelievable situation, in a frightening new world, and rises to the occasion beautifully. But this isn’t just because Melanie is a child, with all the innocent wisdom and precociousness of youth. Melanie is… different.
This dystopia presents us with a world that isn’t as black and white as human vs zombie, because there is an in-between, and Melanie is part of that group. Melanie and children like her aren’t considered human, they are infected with the zombie virus, and crave flesh, but are also able to feel, imagine, reason, and plan like humans. They are simultaneously both and neither, with a foot in both worlds. Melanie and her peers are the subjects of ridicule, fear, and even medical testing in the bunker that they call home. The children are taught by their teacher, the compassionate Ms. Justineau (Gemma Arterton) for a few hours each day, then brought back to tiny, windowless cells. This is the only life they have ever known. The children know that they’re different, but they don’t know why.
When chaos strikes the facility in the form of a mass zombie attack, Melanie becomes the only shot at survival for her human caretakers, the people who have provided for her and largely despised and misunderstood her for her entire life. Although Melanie goes above and beyond to use everything she’s been taught and her natural instincts to keep them safe, it simply isn’t good enough. Melanie can’t save everyone. More importantly, the humans have little regard for all that Melanie does. She still isn’t seen as one of them, and treated accordingly. Her presence is largely tolerated by the group because Dr. Caldwell (Glenn Close) wants to use her blood to synthesize a cure for the zombie virus, a cure which would annihilate both zombies and “others”, like Melanie and children like her.
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