The Pod Generation propels us into a future where our dependence on technology has reached its way to having children.
WRITTEN BY ALEX GILSTON / JANUARY 22, 2023
“Nature knows best” exclaims Alice a soon-to-be mother. Except her pregnancy is anything but natural. The Pod Generation propels us into a future where our dependence on technology has reached its way to having children.
As part of a promotion at work, Rachel (Emilia Clarke) is given the opportunity to have a child using a state-of-the-art artificial womb, a pod. Although she is excited to go through this journey the same can’t be said for her partner Alvy (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a botanist, who is trying to cling to nature in a world that doesn’t care for it anymore. The Pod Generation tables the age-old conversation about nature vs technology. Although it encourages us to embrace nature and its beauty, it doesn't wholeheartedly condemn technology. In fact, it begs that we try and strike a happy medium. There is an earnest heart deep inside The Pod Generation but it only truly shows when it explores Rachel and Alvy’s relationship with their child-to-be inside the pod.
Sophie Barthes also filters in ruminations on tech companies and their attempts to monopolize our everyday lives. Pegazus (definitely not Amazon) is the architect of all things technological in this world, including the pods, which come with a mile-long waiting list and a hefty price tag. The fact that only the most privileged can access the pods helps to ground it as a world not so far from our own.
The world building in The Pod Generation is immaculate. It’s an accurate portrait of what things might look like in the near future to make it feel familiar. There’s also an uneasiness to it - passive-aggressive home assistants, AI therapists, and artificial nature time - that half makes you hope that isn’t where we’re heading. The production design complements this as everything has that dystopian feel, and real plants and trees are confined to small spaces here and there.
Emilia Clarke is wonderful as a woman grappling with pregnancy and going through a tumultuous time trying to work out how it affects her future and her relationship with her partner Alvy. Chiwetel Ejiofor is given a lot to work with, especially when the enthusiasm for the pod switches from Rachel to him. His bonding moments with it are some of the best moments of The Pod Generation.
Whether the future laid out in The Pod Generation is one that is destined to come to fruition or not, we can be comforted in the fact that there are some things in this world that technology simply can’t replace.