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What if humanity were destroyed by aliens and you and your significant other missed the warnings because you had your cell phones and laptops off? Such is the premise of a gem-like little film called SAVE YOURSELVES! Yes, it’s a comedy starring a thirty-something couple Su and Jack from Brooklyn who decide they need to disconnect from their typically Internet-focused lives to explore themselves and their relationship in a friend’s rural cabin. The plot slides comfortably from a rom/com to light sci fi as an invasion of aliens (that look like brown koosh balls but suck the life out of people) is happening beyond the cabin’s idyllic setting. Once they’re alerted to their danger by old text messages to which they can no longer reply, the couple hurries to prepare go-bags for a hasty escape as they bemoan the fact that they packed only perishable food such as kale and quinoa for their week in the cabin.
I can recognize the script as a roast of young people similar to the writers themselves, but I wonder if they discussed some of the subtext they assume—probably subtext of their own lives. First, in spite of a grievous cause for an argument (the careless deletion of computer information that was vital to Su’s job), the couple manages to forgive and move on, demonstrating a level of unconditional love that speaks well for their chances of enjoying a long, successful relationship—if that becomes possible. We laugh at their trendy attempts to dissect their emotional ties, but their ability to communicate with one another is their saving grace that may help them adapt further. Also, the two of them illustrate by their behavior how committed they are as their situation worsens.
Second, Jack confesses he has no discernable gifts to share. He doesn’t know how to shoot or fish, although his brothers were adept. Yet those oft-touted survival skills prove to be entirely irrelevant when humanity is truly threatened. The only knowledge that serves Su and Jack well is an awareness of where to find ethanol in everyday items and how to use an epi-pen. I was reminded that we can’t necessarily anticipate what we’ll need to know or be in a future as unpredictable and dire as ours has come to be. What we guess are our threats aren’t necessarily the tools of our doom. The people who died in the collapse of the Florida condo certainly hadn’t been worrying about being crushed by a building. But we know our old habits and short-sighted priorities probably won’t work for us moving forward. What we don’t know is whether we’ll defy the materialists and address our issues in time.
Along the same lines, Su and Jack often pause to ask what kind of people they are as well as what kind of people they want to be. “We aren’t gun people,” they conclude when they realize being armed will probably only get them killed faster. “Are we people who leave a baby behind?” they ask later. Their essential goodness may provide a better fate for them than the remainder of humankind is suffering, and it may not. The film doesn’t specify.
Perhaps physical survival was never the point.
Kay Starr sang, “…What if the sky should fall? As long as we’re together, it doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter at all.”