Almost all of the women on Earth die, but misogyny does not.
A comet passes Earth and its ash (that somehow makes it onto Earth and through the atmosphere intact) carries a virus that kills almost all of the women on Earth. Eva (Freida Pinto) is one of the last women alive and is traveling with her boyfriend Will (Leslie Odom, Jr.) to live out her final days after being exposed. She and Will travel to a waterfall that they saw when they were first dating while trying to avoid those who would try to take Eva to be dissected or to have her eggs harvested.
If you’ve never read Y: The Last Man, well, it’s much better than this. The premise of that series is that everything on Earth with a Y chromosome dies at the same time except for a guy named Yorick. A tv-show adaptation is set to come out next year. It will almost certainly be better than this movie.
Part of it is that much of the movie tries to feel “serious,” but comes off as “slow.” Having a lot of quiet scenes can sometimes be good for character development, but here it just felt like they hadn’t figured out how to actually fill 90 minutes. Much of the film is flashbacks of their relationship and subsequent quarantine mixed with somber moments of their journey to the waterfall, but the flashbacks are frequently repetitive and the scenes in the present just feel like a slog.
What’s most annoying about Only is how close it came to having a solid point. There are a ton of things this movie could have addressed, from a woman’s right to bodily autonomy to right to die with dignity to government overreach to the callous way people act in plagues if they aren’t personally affected (this one would have REALLY been prescient) to the way religion starts to dominate during times of crisis, but it instead chose to pay some slight lip service to feminism and then do absolutely nothing real. At the end of the film, I feel more like it was a giant misogynist mess, rather than a movie that was supposed to subvert or criticize that exact thing. Most of the flashbacks of Will and Eva’s relationship show Will being extremely controlling, particularly while they’re in quarantine. He spies on her texts, calls her emotional when she says he’s being overbearing, and basically gaslights her on any decision she makes. Meanwhile, the camera frequently treats her like a sex object, even when she’s supposed to be pretending to be a guy. It’s ridiculous that anyone is fooled by that disguise.
Overall, even though the two leads are both skilled actors, this movie can’t be saved by a good performance or two. Skip it.
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