Anya is a thought-provoking film…to say the least. It plays out like a Star Trek episode. There’s a dramatic narrative that addresses a complicated social/science issue. But at times, I was wondering what exactly kind of movie is this? At first, it starts as a marriage drama about infertility, it shifts to the couples backstory and romance, then an account of the unknown Narval culture, and finally a morality tale about genetic editing. Anya tries to be too many things and refuses to narrow its focus on just one story.
That said, I would definitely recommend watching Anya, even though the jumps in stories may frustrate you at times. I found the overarching story of culture and genetics fascinating and captured my interest enough to want to know how it ends. Anya is probably the first feature film to address the ramifications of genetic editing and the idea that there may be humans who have genetically evolved or changed and not have superpowers. It also makes a good discussion starter at parties.
“…developed an entire anthropological history with customs, mating/familial rituals…”
One of the many exciting accomplishments of Anya is the filmmaker’s creation of a new culture, out of nowhere, in the Narval people. They live on an island, isolated from the mainland, and evolved in that isolation. Writers/directors Okada and Taylor developed an entire anthropological history with customs, mating/familial rituals, and defined its relationship with the rest of the world. At times you may believe this is a real country (#plausible), which is a testament to Okada and Taylor’s commitment to the story.
The acting is also quite good, particularly from Ali Ahn and Motell Foster. Although Gil Perez-Abraham portrayal of Marco comes across at times as a little too brooding and angst-ridden. The film also casts a good set of supporting characters as the Narval people, which is important when trying to present a new far-off nation without being cheesy. Anya is a less than perfect film, but attempts to answer a few intriguing questions, making it worth watching.
"…makes a good discussion starter at parties."