Young Ones, written and directed by Jake Paltrow , is a vision of a drought-stricken future in which water has become a precious commodity worth killing for. There have been many sci-films of people struggling in a bleak future, but what makes Young Ones superior is the superb acting of the mostly young cast.
Elle Fanning is Mary Holm, miserably stuck on the dust bowel farm her father refuses to leave. She and her brother Jerome (Kodi Smit-McPhee) lead a bleak existence in a desert that was once beautiful farmland. Their father Ernest (Michael Shannon) pig-headily believes that he will somehow be able to earn enough money to get irrigation to the property.
Mary dreams of running away with her boyfriend Flem (Nicholas Hoult). Mary hates her father so much that she is blind to the fact that Flem is really nothing more than a self-centered evil person. Mary’s father sees right through Flem but, of course, Mary does not want to hear anything from her father. (Apparently even in the future young women still do not listen to their father’s advice when it comes to men).
One of the best performances in the Young Ones is from Aimee Mullins who plays the kids’ quadriplegic mother Katherine. She can only move with the help of machines, yet she provides the tenderness that is so desperately missing in the lives of her children. She can only speak in a whisper, yet you can see how much it pains her that she does not have the physical strength to help her children.
Of course, Aimee Mullins herself is no stranger to physical adversity. She was born with Fibular Hemifelia (missing fibula bones) and had both legs amputated below the knees at age one. Despite this, Aimee went on to athletic success, with specially designed running legs. Aimee also is a fashion model and an actress in many films.
Alex McGregor is “Sooz” a young mother who might have to make the ultimate sacrifice to sell her own baby just to get enough food and water to survive.
Kodi Smit-McPhee is Jerome, the youngest member of the family. Despite his young age and slight build, Jerome takes on the responsibility of becoming the tough leader. His character is heroic in the true sense of the word. Jerome’s only goal is to do what is needed for the family.
We recommend Young Ones, even for people who do not normally watch science fiction. Even in the future, after all, the character of the people and the choices they make will still matter far more than the technology of the machines.