Robert Chang, Jeffifer Phang, Jacqueline Kim, Theresa Navarro, Moon Molson, Ken Jeong
Set in the near future, Advantageous focuses on Gwen Koh, a single mother, whose aspirations for her daughter drive her to the precipice of a fraught decision. Including eerie and ingenious low-key special effects and a deliciously understated performance by Jacqueline Kim, this sci-fi film is rife with underlying tension and lyrical beauty perfectly matching the city’s atmosphere of quiet desperation. Gwen works as a spokesperson for the Center for Advanced Health and Living (an innocuous sounding organization that is, in fact, a corporate behemoth) and finds that she is in danger of losing her job. That would make it impossible for her to send her daughter Jules to private school, a termed “advantage” that in actuality is more a necessity to shield Jules from this future society's brutal economic disparities. The Center’s newest and untested health procedure offers Gwen a dangerous, life-altering chance to continue her career. To weigh her options, Gwen attempts to reconnect with an estranged relative (Ken Jeong), but as seems standard for all in this dystopian landscape, Gwen remains alienated and alone. Through this allegorical structure, Advantageous intelligently investigates present-day society’s perspectives on femininity and motherhood and how they intersect with questions of beauty, surveillance and the economy. Also starring Jennifer Ehle (The Gifted Man, Zero Dark Thirty) and James Urbaniak (The Venture Bros., Henry Fool).