The world we live in is one where beauty is very highly prized. Especially in women. Beauty can be a tool, an opportunity, a commodity, or even a weapon, but however it’s used, it is always an advantage. Because youth in so deeply intertwined with beauty, and the passing of years can often mean the fading of beauty, as we age and are thereby perceived as less attractive, we have less of an advantage.
In this dystopian drama, Gwen Koh (Jacqueline Kim) must come to turns with her diminished youth and beauty, and what this new reality means for her career. As the face of the Center for Advanced Living and Health, Gwen has made a good living selling cosmetic procedures to those desperate to retain or enhance their beauty by any means necessary, but now that she looks more like a potential client than a brand ambassador, the center abruptly fires her, making no qualms about why, and the already struggling single mother is forced to choose between two options of varying extremity.
After trying and failing to receive help from her estranged parents and her cousin (Jennifer Ikeda), Gwen decides to go forward with the more extreme option, seeing it as the one most beneficial to her career and the long-term well-being of her daughter, Jules (Samantha Kim). Knowing the risks, Gwen decides to give into this culture of ageism to keep her job, a decision which seemed the most prudent at first, but comes with various unforeseen consequences.
Advantageous, while very slow moving at times, has some of the method acting I’ve ever taken notice of in a film. The hushed tones in which nearly everyone speaks only highlight the ways in which eye contact, hand gestures, and body language punctuate each scene, letting us know the truth intensity and desperation of the situation. In a future where humans are quickly being replaced by machines, the few jobs left for us are left for the elite, and they must do everything to ensure that their children will be provided for.
Seamlessly weaving classism, ageism, infertility, and the sacrifices of parenthood, Advantageous is a humbling, moving prose, commentary of a future which seems inevitable. In this future, like the present, situations often seem bleak, but not completely hopeless.
I give this one 3.75 stars.