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Tribeca 2020: “A Better You” (2020) ★★★


No human is perfect. No matter what we do, in most cases, we simply fail. Some of us may not have the courage to say the first hello and when it comes to saying goodbye, we stumble. There is always room to become a better version of ourselves but how many of us are willing to challenge ourselves?

“A Better You” follows Douglas (Seán T. Ó Meallaigh), a very shy but capable man who does his job in the most sincere way possible. He admires his female colleague, Olga (Hannah Mamalis), but does not know how to invite her to a date. But when he gets a ticket to attend the Extravaganza Dance, the man decides to send the clone version of himself, a better version that can execute each step to win over Olga’s heart.

Set in a dystopian neo-steampunk world, we meet a young man named Douglas. He reads a bunch of books, knows all the techniques of human behavior, however, he does not trust himself enough to invite Olga for a dance. Instead, he decides to send a customizable carbon clone, “A Better You”, that can be more charming and attractive than any human being. But once he sets everything up and prepares Douglas 2 to go out with Olga, the unexpected happens, forcing Douglas to reconsider his evening plans.

Directed by Eamonn Murphy, “A Better You” tackles the human self-perception and how often we fail ourselves. Instead of going out and talking to people, we are willing to use the latest technologies to replace our inability to integrate in society. Do we really have to work hard to impress someone or is it better to remain who we are and let our own persona find its way to shine?

“A Better You” is a beautifully done dystopian drama with a bit of humor. But its philosophical approach to what we are is quite amazing. What stood out most in this film is the ability to convey its message through Douglas. We do not need to invest lots of money in technology that can replace human interaction. We all can do the same thing that Douglas’ carbon clone does. All that needs to be done is to have a bit of courage, willingness, and desire to achieve the goal.

That said, winning the heart of the girl of his dreams wasn’t an easy task for Douglas. But because of his clone, the man will discover in himself an ability he did not know he had. Because, at the end of the day, we all have a better version within. It’s just a matter of a single moment to extract it from wherever it is hiding and bring it up on the surface to guide us through the land of fear towards who we need to be and not who we are.

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