Review by James Lindorf
Writer and Director Eamonn Murphy’s “A Better You” is a steampunk Irish fantasy/drama about a man discovering the best version of himself. Douglas is a thirty-something programmer with few prospects in the way of friends and even less in love. An upcoming dance extravaganza could be the chance to ask out his office crush Olga that he’s always wanted. Knowing where to go and who he wants to take answers every question, except whether he should go himself or send an improved version. A Better You is a customizable carbon clone that is capable of everything Douglas wishes he was while lacking all of his nerves and self-doubt. “A Better You” stars Seán T. Ó’Meallaigh (I Am Patrick), Hannah Mamalis (The Drummer & The Keeper), Marcio Wille (Wanderlust) and Charlie Kranz (Batman Begins). Originally selected to screen at the 2020 Oscar-qualifying Tribeca Film Festival, “A Better You” will be screened online by the festival in the coming months.
While there half a dozen or so speaking roles, this is undoubtedly Seán T. Ó’Meallaigh’s film, and its success depends on is performance. Watching him play both the shy Douglas and the ultra-confident clone is a lot of fun. The real Douglas is so reserved that he isn’t even willing to let his clone operate at 100%, often toning him down by 30-40%. The programming of the clone is easily the funniest portion of the film and gives Ó’Meallaigh a chance to shine in the duel role.
“A Better You” is a subtle look at the online world where we try to project our best selves and are still left wondering how we can compete with everyone else. We are all like Douglas, looking at a world filled with beautiful and “perfect” people, not recognizing that they are hiding the same insecurities that we possess.
Eamonn created a beautifully crafted film with elements reminiscent of Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning “The Shape of Water.” The blend of what could be 1950’s Dublin and the futuristic tech is something I could watch for hours to see how creative and consistent the production team can be. I would have been happy to stay in Eamonn’s world much longer than this nearly 16-minute runtime, but it is better to be left wanting more than to have a budget let everyone down. With Tribeca being canceled, it is hard to say how much attention the film will garner. Still, I have confidence it won’t be long until we see Eamonn making his feature-length directorial debut.
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