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  • Very clever sci-fi movie that keeps you entertained for the entire (rather long) duration. I wasn't bored for a moment, the story was just very appealing to me, the choice between own happiness or happiness for the one you love, it's a difficult choice. Oscar winner Mahershala Ali did a great job playing his two characters. The rest of the cast is also good but Mahershala Ali carries this movie. The sci-fi elements are very futuristic but not impossible to imagine. Swan Song won't disappoint a lot of sci-fi lovers.
  • This is newb filmmaker Benjamin Cleary first full length feature film debut, with less than a handful of prior shorts, and he sure did hit this one out of the ballpark, especially considering his inexperience.

    Was it perfect? Absolutely not. My main issues are that this film was too long at 112 mins, that felt longer with the slow pacing and dragged out/unnecessary scenes. I can't stand slowly paced films, yet this one had to be for it to work. I just wish there was more substance with less filler to fill in the runtime, or edit out at least 15 mins.

    I will say though that Cleary's story was delicate, intelligent, engaging, immersive and very thought provoking, with the perfect amount of sci-fi to compliment the psychological drama and romance. If you're expecting a hard core sci-fi, you will be disappointed. However if you're a fan of the show, it was right out of the "Black Mirror" playbook. It was told with emotionally character-driven sincerity and intrigue, rather than the typical gimmicks, and that's what makes this film a stand-out. Yes, I would've wanted more Hollywood thrills, suspense and action, but that would've impacted the storie's dynamics negatively. Cleary's directing was also impressively excellent, as was the cinematography and score. All casting and performances were near perfection, especially Ali's.

    If you're like me, you may start getting bored with the story and it's pacing; be patient, as the last act will make it all worthwhile and leave knots in your throat and stomach. I do wonder though, if the dog will ever warm up to the Swan Song remix. It's a well deserved standing ovation for Clearly and his talented cast, and a 8/10 from me.
  • carlcasso18 December 2021
    First off. This is what I would describe as an Intelligent Movie.

    This would explain the many negative reviews.

    To describe it as boring really describes the person who is viewing it and their ability to understand what they are watching.

    They've lost interest as it doesn't have explosions, a loud soundtrack or violence.

    This Movie is about Life, Death, love and putting your loved ones needs ahead of your own.

    If you missed that then these type of movies clearly are not for you.

    Ali and Harris are incredible to watch.

    A person sitting next to me asked " was that Ali's twin?"

    This speaks volumes for the special effects team and their incredible but subtle work on this movie.

    This is one I will watch again and again.

    It was a powerful and thought provoking piece.

    Well done to all involved and thank you for such a beautiful movie.
  • Xstal7 January 2022
    Imagine there's a clone, who's now living in your home, a perfect doppelganger, conjured straight from the lab's hanger. It's a sympathetic swap, as your time has come to drop, all your family need to know, is you'll never let them go.

    Beautifully performed by some gorgeous people; it may well get you reflecting on what you would do under similar circumstances and concluding nothing even remotely similar - even if the option was available.
  • Horror_Flick_Fanatic18 December 2021
    It's a good movie. However, I felt it was more of a heartfelt love and sacrifice story than a science fiction film. It has really good acting performances, the sets and the cinematography are beautiful. But for science fiction it had some illogical points that didn't make sense. I don't think both Camerons should have met, but supposedly they have the technology to erase the clones memory of the original Cameron.. But it didn't stop me from enjoying the film. I would watch it again. I felt the courtship in the very beginning of the movie was very romantic.
  • I didn't know what to expect from this beforehand and now I'm really moved and happy to see this movie existing. This reminds me of those independent but talented films that we used to see much more in the past. Those ones that you ventured into the movies to be entertained without bombastic expectatives and with no CGI hero fest populating the multiplex. The performances, the themes and the direction is fantastic. It had me at its heartfelt mercy from the get go. Deserves to be watched and enjoyed. It's one of those that may spark a talk and debate after watching it. Really good at what it aims and what it wants to be.
  • I'm a Japanese who lives in the U. S. and English is not my first language so please allow me my poor English.

    It was very calm and touching. Not too drama but realistic. I mean I've never been in a similar situation so it's weird to say this but I meant it was not like a roller coaster type of story and it just made me think of a lot of things that'll happen in my future for real and what's "love" quietly.

    And whoever likes an interior design, especially for a minimalist, you'll love it. Not just interior, the designs of all of objects in this movie even the text box are very sophisticated. Also I love the couple's way of talking which is calm and peaceful and perfectly matches with the designs of objects. The scenes in the tranquil forest and well designed interior are just beautiful and relaxing.

    My husband said it was too slow but I didn't feel like that way. I felt even the slowness matched the whole movie. It's interesting that how people feel differently. And in my case, I felt calm and relaxed after watching it. How about you?
  • ferguson-616 December 2021
    Greetings again from the darkness. In a cinematic oddity, this is my second SWAN SONG film to review this year. The first was a SXSW starring vehicle for Udo Kier, and now we have the first feature film from writer-director Benjamin Cleary, who won an Oscar for his 2015 short film STUTTERER. It's safe to say the two SWAN SONGS share no similarities other than their title. Cleary presents a sci-fi drama that applies moral and ethical questions to advanced medical science, and our inherent desire to protect loved ones.

    Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (MOONLIGHT, 2016) stars as Cameron, a graphic design artist recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. Rather than disclose this to his wife Poppy (Naomie Harris, MOONLIGHT) and young son Cory (Dax Rey), Cameron opts for an alternative course of action offered by Dr. Jo Scott (8 time Oscar nominee Glenn Close). It's an extreme and risky solution to a horrible situation, and Cameron's only motivation is to shield his family from the pain and grief his death would cause.

    Dr. Scott, working with Dalton (Adam Beach), a psychologist, has concocted not just a cloning process right down to a person's DNA, but also the transfer of memories and subconscious memory storage into said clone. The idea is that loved ones never realize they've lost a loved one. Is this morally justifiable? Is it ethical? Is this deceit the right thing to do even if it spares the pain of loss? As Cameron goes through the process (and meets the new him), we see much of his life in flashback form, and get a feel for the love in his marriage, as well as the struggles incurred. While at the center ... a stunning modern facility buried deep in the picturesque forest ... Cameron meets another 'client' played by Awkwafina (CRAZY RICH ASIANS, 2018), who steers him through the process and the (at times) stifling emotions.

    Mr. Ali and Ms. Harris are terrific in their scenes together, and it helps us understand why Cameron agrees to do this for her. Director Cleary never backs away from Cameron's conflicted thoughts - probably the same most would have - and we comprehend why he's tortured. However, the film never tackles some of the big picture questions and issues raised by such a proposal. The film is certain to spur plenty of thought and debate. It's a nice-looking film with strong sound design and terrific performances ... leading up to your decision: what would you do?

    Available in theaters and on AppleTV+ beginning December 17, 2021.
  • I watched with my mom a couple hours ago it's pretty good for what is. Great concept with some epic 2040 futuristic vibes that we only wish could come true especially if we want to carry on a marriage with a clone that has all the same traits wild idea for a Sci-Fi/Drama/Romance/ some thriller aspects mashed in! Exceptional acting I would like if anything that Mahershala Ali gets an Oscar nod.
  • seansoulo7320 December 2021
    Love is love. Love is complicated. Love is hard and often paid by sacrifice. This was a serious gesture of unselfish love towards one's family in a most helpless situation. Could many men make the same choice Cameron did in the face of limited time, feelings of jealously, regret and sheer hopelessness?

    Mahershala, Naomie, Aquafina and Glenn close all delivered.
  • This is an introspective film, so not for everyone. The actors are incredible and finessed - including Awkwafina, who was a brilliant addition to this cast. Then there's the scenery. It's one of my favorite areas of the world - and wow did the cinematographer did an outstanding job. Hard not to in British Columbia. The film poses a few moral questions. Glad I don't have to worry about them.
  • Almost a straight forward movie, just goes from A to B to C. I was hoping for a few twists and turns along the way but maybe this one doesn't need them.

    Good scenery and filmed in B. C. Canada and it adds to the thinking parts of the movie. It's definitely worth a recommendation but giving it a 10 is just too much as it follows a simple story line. Well acted and the music adds a bit as well.
  • jeroduptown11 August 2022
    Ali is terrific as a terminally ill father that loves his wife and kid but has a chance to leave them with a copy of himself instead of deserting them through death. Akwafina as the clinic friend, Close as the mastermind - it's a subtle but great film.
  • Naysayers you all missed the point. This movie is about love, life loss and death, it is about all these things it is not about cloning and if you fell asleep during this movie you basically are dead to the world anyway. Great and thought provoking. Watch it. He has two Oscars for a reason.
  • There are a fair number of talented actors in this film. But over all, due to either script or direction, this film lacks any entertainment value. It is also a very shallow dive into the issues it raises. The supposed conflict has to be explained by the characters, which is always a bad sign. Film should show, not tell. Also the films pacing feels sluggish and drawn out. Overall it is a Lifetime Network level film.

    Also of the three positive reviews, two are single use accounts, where the only activity by the account is to give this manifestly mediocre film a glowing review. They both seem to be created by the third positive reviewers account. That is shilly.

    3/10 at best.
  • IN A NUTSHELL: The film was written and directed by Benjamin Cleary, his first feature film. He received acclaim and an Academy Award for his 2015 short called Stutterer. He's off to a great start!

    Set in the near future, "Swan Song" is a powerful, emotional journey told through the eyes of Cameron (Mahershala Ali), a loving husband and father who is expecting his second child with his wife Poppy (Naomie Harris). When Cameron is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he is presented with an alternative solution by his doctor (Glenn Close) to shield his family from grief. As Cameron grapples with whether or not to alter his family's fate, he learns more about life and love than he ever imagined. The film explores how far we will go, and how much we're willing to sacrifice, to make a happier life for the people we love.

    THINGS I LIKED: First of all, Mahershala Ali is gold. He's excellent in everything he does and has MANY awards to prove it. I especially loved him in Green Book. I absolutely adore him and can't wait to see him in the upcoming Marvel movie BLADE.

    Mahershala and Naomie Harris make such a gorgeous and believable couple. I love them together. They both starred in Moonlight and received nominations for their touching performances in that.

    Something amusing happens on a train at the beginning of the movie. I actually read of that exact thing happening many years ago. It's a cute misunderstanding that shows the good nature of most people and allows you to immediately fall in love with the couple.

    I love the robot service on the train, the cool tech gadgets, and the self-driving car. I can't wait until we have those in our everyday world. Even still, the futuristic tech that is featured in the movie is just to create a setting that allows us to readily accept the science of cloning people. It's not the focus of the film, but provides a believable and interesting backdrop.

    The original score is just lovely. The element of music is also utilized to express happiness in one of the characters' lives. The title itself is appropriate: Swan Song.

    The montages make you realize how fast time flies by and that the beautiful moments of life are made up of all of the small things we experience in everyday life.

    Stunning landscapes and cinematography.

    From a mom's perspective, I can appreciate the sacrifice the main character was willing to make for the happiness of his family. I can also understand how conflicted he would feel about walking away from his family. The film perfectly displays the anger, jealousy, and sorrow the protagonist is feeling while making his decision.

    The sweet scenes will bring tears to your eyes.

    The ethical questions the movie asks are intriguing, especially as our technology advances. The question isn't IF we can clone creatures, for example, but if we should.

    The relationship between twin siblings is illustrated. I have a twin sister so I loved that element thrown into the story about family dynamics and that special bond.

    Awkwafina gives an excellent performance. She maintains her feisty spark with a subdued, powerful performance.

    The family's dog is completely adorable.

    The minimalistic design underscores that when we get close to death, we can easily see what's most important in life: our relationships. The small cast allows you to focus on the family.

    There's an element of mystery as the story slowly unfolds, revealing more about the characters.

    THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE: Some viewers might get a little bit confused because the timeline goes back and forth.

    Mahershala Ali also plays two different characters, which might also confuse viewers at times.

    There is a moment when I wondered if the movie would turn into a thriller or horror even, but it passed and the questions it asked were never really answered.

    Some viewers have complained that the movie's length is too long and drags on, but I disagree. Dying from a terminal illness must feel like it drags on while experiencing an emotional roller coaster. I thought this film illustrated that well.

    Academy Award nominee Glenn Close was underutilized.

    TIPS FOR PARENTS: Some profanity and F-bombs Kids will be bored An adult gives alcohol to a child.

    Talk of death.

    You can see my full review on my Movie Review Mom YouTube channel.
  • I like these futuristic themes centered on moral dilemmas caused by the rapid rise of technology. "Swan Song" is an awful title; I don't know why another title with a better hook to it is not chosen. At any rate, the concept here has been explored many times in other shows like "Black Mirror," "Solos," "Multiplicity," "Replicas," and probably even "The Twilight Zone." I enjoy the mysterious minimalistic ambience throughout this movie, and top that off with a likable cast with their respective acting chops, and you have yourself a winner. From Mahershala Ali who completely immerses himself in all of his roles, giving us a convincing performance every time with his wide range from subtle contemplation to heartfelt rage, to Awkwafina who is very good here deviating from her typical wild, outrageous, funny self. Notice that the 'people of color' actors here are playing roles that are not race-specific. This is definitely a step in the right direction when we are no longer typecasting someone like Awkwafina for only Asian-themed roles like in "Crazy Rich Asians" or Mahershala Ali in "Green Book." And let's not forget the presence of Glenn Close, showing us that a mature woman can also be a pioneer in tech. Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, step aside please.

    Towards the end of the movie, some ambiguity begins to be thrown in which feels contrived. It is a lazy and rushed way to end the movie. The actual last scene tries to be so emotional but it just comes across as unsatisfying, which is a shame because this movie initially has so much promise.
  • 'Swan Song' doesn't dig as deep as I thought it might have, though it is still a film I found to be intriguing.

    It has a fab cast list, with Mahershala Ali producing the goods in the lead role. Naomie Harris, Awkwafina, Glenn Close and Adam Beach also feature. I kinda feel like I wanted to see more of them, though that could just be as actors - rather than their characters, who are shown enough.

    This 2021 film holds a lot of heart so it's difficult not to attach yourself to the story, in that regard I particularly enjoyed the ending. It's a slow burn but never drags. 3* for me, it's worth a sit through I'd say.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I thought this movie was beautiful and emotionally deep. Ok if you were expecting an action film, you might not love this, emotionally moving sci-fi/fantasy film. I loved it. It gives you a lot to think about. I love the subtle futuristic tech they have (like "double clicking" their thumbs to open their computer). It almost goes unnoticed how things in this future have improved. It's very fluid. I loved the art. The acting is amazing.

    * * ***POSSIBLE SPOILERS*** Imagine literally sitting down and having a chat with yourself. Imagine getting a terminal diagnosis...and then you're given this opportunity.

    His love is so deep for his family that he'll die all alone, to save them the grieving.

    Meanwhile...the same actor is playing "Jack" but has to do scenes alone in deep conversations with himself. It must have been quite a challenging role! He did it very believably and beautifully. The just-under-the-surface anger was great. And the fact that Jack forgave him(self) too. "Do what you gotta do."
  • Movi3DO10 January 2022
    It's hard to be left behind.

    An interesting concept about human cloning. It's a story about a terminally-ill husband who underwent a procedure to have his clone took over his life.

    Although there's multiple concepts introduced, like human cloning and whether it can replace human, this was actually the weakest part of the movie because they weren't dived into much. However, at least this movie still knew what it wanted the most: a calm and heartbreaking look at a man trying to accept his own fate. Like Little Fish (2021), there were multiple flashbacks of memories that the characters shared that made you understood what main character had to lose. Here, however, Ali's character would lose the future memories, and it's definitely hard to accept that. Gosh the last 15 minutes was incredibly emotional and heartbreaking.

    Performance-wise, Ali was phenomenal. Although he had little outburst of emotion, his reflective facial expressions still emitted just as much pain. He was the center of the movie and he sure carried it all the way. Awkwafina and Glenn Close didn't have as much screen time to be significant.

    Overall, even though it had problems, Swan Song was still emotionally investing. 8.5/10.
  • I feel it's important for you to know some things about me as reviewer.... First off, I have MANY reviews here on IMDb. Secondly, I love movies, and have for over 45 years. I take in, and appreciate a motion picture that communicates with ALL it's available resources.

    This story doesn't come from a new idea, and does not explore moral grounds. It is not thought provoking in as much as it is emotion provoking. It is not as much about adrenaline rush entertainment as it is an intimate glimpse into love in a unique situation.

    Excellent script,acting, cinematography,score,direction,sound,editing......

    A movie that will be appreciated by many? I would hope so, but probably not.....But I did.
  • This movie is not about about technology. It's about love.

    As always, Mahershala Ali's performance is stellar. Seriously, this man is one of the very best actors around. In my opinion, acting is what he does, the ability to convey complex emotions with just his body, most notably his face. The opposite of what Joaquin Phoenix did in The Joker (I am a fan of JP's but he was badly overacting in that movie).

    The rest of the cast is excellent. All of them.

    Many comments point out an excessive slowness. I disagree. The film is telling a journey, grief over oneself parting and stepping aside for the sake of one's family. That's a huge decision. Someone wrote here that Cameron's decision was selfish. Maybe that person was multitasking and missed the point entirely. On the contrary, it's about sacrifice and selflessness.

    There's a slight twist in the second half that makes you think the movie would shift to a different genre entirely but steers back on course after a while. That may be the single flaw I found in this movie. Showing a fit of acute anxiety was consistent with the story and the character but the way it was done was a bit dissonant.

    The cinematography is absolutely superb. The attention to design flawless. The music fits the story perfectly.

    A very good movie.
  • milburnium18 December 2021
    Mahershala Ali was incredible, what a phenomenal actor. Engaging from beginning to end, and very moving. One of the best movies I have seen during these pandemic times and oh lord have I watched a lot of movies!
  • T2TLED19 December 2021
    For some reason I was expecting a psychological sci-fi thriller and got a psychological sci-fi moral dilemma drama instead. Interesting concept, but I was quite bored.
  • Well this is just perfectly thought and best futuristic sci-if movie about life and cloning. Perfect pace of events with wonderful performances and thoughtful dialogues to make you think about life. This movie does a wonderful job of putting you in a reality to experience something outside your everyday life, this is a must watch movie and highly recommend it.
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