07th May2020

‘A Better You’ Short Film Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Seán T. Ó’Meallaigh, Hannah Mamalis, Marcio Wille, Charlie Kranz, Aoife Nic Ardghail | Written and Directed by Eamonn Murphy

A short film that was selected to screen at the Oscar-qualifying Tribeca Film Festival which, due to the Coronavirus outbreak the festival will now screen films online in the coming months, A Better You is directed by Eamonn Murphy and takes place in a peculiar steampunk world where a man named Douglas (Seán T. Ó’Meallaigh) orders a clone of himself in order to attempt to win the girl of his dreams who he finds himself unable to impress.

This felt like one big metaphor for how lives are lived in the modern age, with social media playing such a strong part of people’s lives, and with the status updates and profiles filled with perhaps less-then-truthful things. The classic yet futuristic visuals are great and the overall production design here is damn good. It’s a story, in some ways, which we’ve heard before. The fact that there’s a lack of authenticity in the world that is spread by the anonymity of social media is explored in this short-form film but it’s still clever and worth hearing. Yes, we know what it’s saying and we’re well aware of how the world is now, but seeing it portrayed in this manner, with clones, is both curious and riveting.

Murphy has a smart voice and his production and writing is a blend of poignancy and catharsis, bringing an obvious yet agitating fact to the forefront of his film. You’ll certainly be forced to think about things here, and I only wish there had been more time to explore this concept. Sure… it’s been said many times, but this is a pretty original way of saying it. Worth watching, undoubtedly, this was fun and clever. I liked it.

***½  3.5/5

A Better You was funded under the Focus Shorts Scheme by Screen Ireland and produced by Quintin Ahern of Army of Id. It held its Irish premiere at the Oscar-Qualifying 64th Cork Film Festival.

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