This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Benjamin Cleary
STARRING: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Awkwafina & Glenn Close
Opening in select theaters, and streaming on Apple TV+ this weekend (12/17), Mahershala Ali stars as Cameron, the family man, with an all-consuming love for his beautiful wife Poppy (Played by Naomi Harris) and his adorable son Cory (Dax Rey).
When Cameron is faced with a terminal illness that he cannot beat, he seeks out the professional services of Dr. Jo Scott (Glenn Close) and pays for her to conduct her new cloning process, allowing him to spare his wife and son the pain of his death, by cloning himself.
As Cameron tries to come to terms with his decision on whether or not to unleash “the new Cameron”, he is also faced with the reality of meeting another terminally ill patient at Dr Scott’s complex, Kate (Awkwafina), who has been watching her clone from afar, live out her life. Torn on if he has made the right decision for his family, or not, Cameron must face his debilitating illness head on, while deciding what IS the right thing to do for his family’s future…
I give SWAN SONG a rating of 3/5: Mahershala Ali gives an outstanding, award-worthy performance, playing both roles as he, and his clone, throughout this film. His depth and understanding of what he needed to convey on screen is apparent, as his performance is totally moving, and then some. Naomie Harris’s performance as his wife is first-rate too, although I wish that she would have gotten a lot more screen time than she did, when it was all said and done. Awkwafina’s small, but significant role to the storyline this time around was exceptional as well. And even though Glenn Close wasn’t given much screen time either, as this one is Ali’s to inhabit, she also gave a good performance as cloning-professional Dr Jo Scott. I also enjoyed youngster Dax Rey, playing the son this time around, as his “cuteness factor” adds along the way too. So, with all these wonderful performances, why the 3/5 rating? Well, even though I will sing Mahershala Ali’s praises for his award worthy performances for days with this film, it completely is way too slow and drawn out, to keep your attention while viewing. And when a film that is just shy of 2 hours feels drawn out, you know you have a few issues evolving along the way. I tried to keep in mind too that the concept of this film is rather one-dimensional, as we are following one man’s life, with his decision to unleash his clone, or not, but I think that allowing the viewer to get more dimension to the other characters throughout this film, may have been “just what the Dr. ordered”, in making this film feel more comprehensive.
Bottom line is, if you enjoy realistic science-fiction, and want to see a fabulous performance unveiled before awards season, then by all means head to a theater near you, or cast up your Apple TV+ subscription, so that you can catch Mr. Ali give the most exceptional performance of his career, so far…