A Better You (2020)| Tribeca 2020 Film Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A Better You is a short film directed by Eamonn Murphy, which was selected to screen at the Oscar-qualifying Tribeca Film Festival. The film takes place in a dystopian neo-steampunk world and follows Douglas, a shy young man, who tries to get the girl of his dreams by ordering “A Better You”, a programmable clone of himself, and plans on impressing her in ways he is afraid to show off. The sleek production design with the world building and the interesting characters prove the filmmakers have the potential of telling compelling stories which can act as a commentary on current social affairs as well as a fun sci-fi. 

Although A Better You doesn’t completely offer any new ideas regarding messages or themes, they have clever ways of bringing up the flaws found within social media and having a presence that is not authentic with each individual. These clones, which are promoted throughout the film, are able to project talent, emotion, and above all a sense of being perfect all around. They are who we would want to portray ourselves as. We do that in our daily lives with our smart phone the moment we push ‘post’ on whatever platform we utilize to be social. It’s a really clever way to bring up issues with something we can all relate too. 

Eamonn Murphy has a sharp eye for attention to detail. The thing that impressed me the most out of this short film was the world the filmmakers built. The production design feels like a mix of dystopia with contemporary vintage. The technology introduced in the movie felt like a clever 50’s futuristic outlook of how things would seem to be then. The computers, the televisions, everything screams retro vintage with a contemporary touch. It’s a world I wish could have been explored more in the runtime it was allotted. 

Overall, A Better You is a well done short film that has clever moments and great performances from the talent across the board. For as clever as it is with conveying the message and themes through the use of clones, I wish the thematic elements themselves would have been a little more original as well. In the age of social media and putting on fake performances to impress others, the message has been clear for a while and at times it felt a little redundant as its a very familiar message humans have been told time, after time, after time. It’s not that we have seen this message before, it’s the fact we have heard this message before. I do think the filmmakers can do some fun and incredible work with expanding the story to explore the world they have created. 

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