While most science fiction tales involving cloning almost invariably end up as action-packed spectacles in which people are literally and metaphorically fighting themselves, Apple’s upcoming feature Swan Song from director Benjamin Cleary goes the more quiet, intimate route with a story about a dying man who’s desperately in love with the life he’s about the leave behind.
Though Cameron’s (Mahershala Ali) feelings about his wife (Naomie Harris) and son run deep, and he knows that they feel his love, he can’t know what will become of them after his doctor (Glenn Close) lets him know that he doesn’t have all that long to live. Out of fear of how the news might devastate his family, Cameron hides his terminal diagnosis from them, initially unsure of what he’s going to do until his doctor reveals that she might have a way to make sure that “he” doesn’t leave them. Swan Song’s first trailer doesn’t go into detail about how Cameron’s clone (also Ali) exactly comes into being, but what you see is how the new man’s creation gives Cameron reasons to both hope and fear what’s to come in the future.
Swan Song’s trailer gives off the impression that it will touch on more than a few themes about souls and the nature of a person’s singular identity that are commonly featured in clone stories. But what might set the film apart is its focus on the difficult conversations people have to have when faced with serious medical decisions that will impact those closest to them. Though the movie may spend some time exploring the larger ethical implications of cloning, hiding the fact that you swapped places with your clone seems to be the idea it’s more interested in unpacking. And that’s an idea audiences will have to sit with once Swan Song hits theaters and Apple TV+ on December 17.
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