Save Yourselves! review – a philosophical and apocalyptic comedy. Really.

October 2, 2020 (Last updated: last month)
Alix Turner 0
Film, Film Reviews


A light tale about how modern people cope with the unexpected and their dependency on technology, but way more fun than I can make it sound. Great first feature from Alex H. Fischer and Eleanor Wilson.

Save Yourselves! introduces Jack and Su, a modern couple in their thirties who come to realize that they spend more time connected to the cloud than each other or the world around them, which prompts them to unplug for a week in the middle of nowhere. This just happens to be the same week when fluffy balls from outer space come to take over. What would you do?

You can tell from my synopsis that this is a comedy, right? It’s a simply adorable film, perhaps the very gentlest kind of comedy, at least at first. There aren’t any gags, there’s no banana-skin foolishness. What Save Yourselves! presents to its audience is sly observational humor about the integral nature of technology with all our lives; and then gradually a sharp juxtaposition between the realistic and the silly.

Written and directed by Alex H. Fischer and Eleanor Wilson (their first feature film), Save Yourselves! has some interesting layers. Virtually half the film is spent simply in the company of Jack (John Reynolds, Stranger Things) and Su (Sunita Mani, Mr. Robot), getting to know them, their relationship, and their contrasting bonds with their electronic devices. Consequently, with space invaders not making their presence felt until later, and everything being quite “in the present”, you can’t exactly say this is a film about an invasion. Also, though it has a plot, that isn’t exactly complex, and it’s more about the individuals’ reactions to their lives, their discoveries, and each other; so the plot itself isn’t as important as the people.

The writers’ original goal “was to take a ridiculous situation and make it feel as realistic as possible”. They certainly achieved that, but in doing so they have created a parable. When the film takes a tender turn towards the abstract in the final few minutes, it becomes apparent that Save Yourselves! is not really about its narrative at all: it’s about how disconnected people are, from each other, from themselves and from the world in general, in favour of their phones and petty minutiae. The more Jack and Su try to resolve that, the more they discover that the solution is beyond them, and they lose connection with pretty much everything. Is it too late for all of us?

OK so I know I’m making Save Yourselves! sound way serious and it isn’t, while you’re watching it: it’s fun! The couple at the heart of it is remarkably “normal”, while at the same time an epitome of modern. I have no doubt pretty much any viewer would be able to relate to one or both of them to some degree, whether it’s about their frustration of life passing too quickly, not knowing what soap to use, the disaster of losing browser tabs, being unprepared for a crisis, or simply not knowing what’s important to one’s partner after all.

But really, it’s fun! There are surprising fluffy aliens, chaotic long-distance family calls, attempted meditation in a canoe and farcical scenes of what-do-we-do-now. Save Yourselves! is a quirky indie sci-fi comedy, that is as much about aliens as Safety Not Guaranteed is about time travel. I enjoyed it a great deal, once I accepted the take-it-or-leave-it style: don’t go in expecting flying saucers or belly laughs, but take it as it is and you’ll have a lovely time.

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