TIFF 2015: Equals

Two individuals begin an forbidden romance in a world devoid of emotion in Equals. In a seemingly Utopian future society, human emotion has been genetically removed from individuals. Silas (Nicholas Hoult) is a drone-like office worker, who learns that he has been diagnosed with “Switched On Syndrome,” where he has begun regaining his lost emotions. When he finds out that he co-worker Nia (Kristen Stewart) has the same condition, they begin a secret romance with each other and look for a way to escape this society.

From director Drake Doremus (Like Crazy) comes this Romeo and Juliet-like science fiction story, set in a seemingly Utopian society, which turns out to to be more Dystopian in nature. This isn’t really all that new a science fiction concept and in fact the emotionless society of Equals reminded me somewhat of the 1993 young adult novel “The Giver,” which received a less-than-stellar film adaptation last year. However, despite the attractive leads of Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart, Equals is a little more deeper than the countless similarly themed young adult stories, with the film examining what exactly it means to be human.

Equals is probably most notable for its visual style, which begins with a very white monochromatic world, before more colours are progressively added to the palette, such as turquoise coloured bathroom make-out sessions or a very green garden Silas is reassigned to work at. Equals also has some notable supporting roles by Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver, as fellow “switched on” individuals, who try to help Silas and Nia make an escape. Altogether, Equals is a quite touching and thought provoking dystopian romance.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).