A 2016 Science Fiction Dystopia Romance film starring Nicholas Hoult as Silas, a digital artist, and Kristen Stewart as Nia, a historian colleague of Silas's who corrects Silas on the accuracy of the illustrations he produces. Follows in the footsteps of many similar Science Fiction Dystopian works, in which the story is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the remaining humans live in the technologically-advanced 'Collective', have undergone fetal genetic reprogramming to turn off emotions, and emotions as a whole are considered a dangerous, socially destabilizing illness known as S.O.S., or 'Switched On Syndrome'.
Of course, the two protagonists end up falling in love.
- Ascetic Aesthetic: The buildings, interiors, apparel, and most of the scenes in this film are sleek and minimalist, in a palette of white and shades of grey.
- After the End
- Bait-and-Switch: Played for Drama, plot-wise. When Nia undergoes a checkup for conception duty, she resignedly asks if she has S.O.S., which she does (she's been hiding it for over a year.) The audience expects the nurse to confirm this, but instead the nurse reveals a Plot Twist - Nia's pregnant.
- Bittersweet Ending: Silas and Nia eventually escape the Collective into the unknown outside world, but Nia is pregnant and Silas doesn't love her anymore as he can no longer feel emotion. The film ends with Silas and Nia on the train, without showing if they were picked up by a pilot as arranged to successfully get them out of the Collective.
- Big Brother Is Watching: While there doesn't seem to be survelliance or monitoring equipment in the Collective per se, the surveillance is carried out by the population of the Collective themselves. Entering your workplace also requires you to scan your wrist, which reveals your name, job, and medical condition, making it easy to anyone to identify you quickly - and more importantly, if you have S.O.S. Characters are also constantly wary about where they talk and what they say, fearful of being overheard by others and reported.
- Bread and Circuses: Everyone seems to have a pretty cushy life, with their own space to live, their own job, delicious-looking food and no apparent mention of monetary transactions at all.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: Emotions are suppressed and frowned upon, so when a suicide occurs, the witnesses (including Silas) barely exhibit any emotional response upon seeing the bloodied corpse.
- Coitus Ensues: Yes, Silas and Nia fall in love. Yes, they have forbidden sex. Although it did have enough buildup, the film can be said to be a Deconstruction of the typical convention for onscreen romances to end in sex nowadays, since the sex advances the plot instead of a throwaway given about the romance. Nia is revealed to be pregnant when called up for conception duty. She is hence taken away to the D.E.N., jeopardizing her and Silas's plans to escape the Collective.
- Crapsaccharine World: The world seems peaceful, if extremely uniform, refer to Bread and Circuses above. Of course, that comes at the price of no emotions, no meaningful relationships or sex. If people do start feeling something, it's treated as a continually worsening illness to be medicated. Reaching the most advanced stage of the 'illness' merits an execution.
- Dissonant Serenity: No one has any strong reactions to suicides or people being hauled off to their executions due to their lack of emotions - in fact, it's a necessity to appear calm and to not arouse suspicion that you may have S.O.S. After allies (fellow S.O.S. sufferers) help Nia escape, they keep a calm demeanour once they see security headed their way and simply leave in a measured walk.
- Driven to Suicide: An early indication that the Collective isn't as perfect as it seems happens early on when a suicide occurs at Silas and Nia's workplace. Silas almost goes this way as well.
- Dull Surprise: Justified, because the members of the Collective have suppressed emotions. When they see someone commit suicide, their reaction amounts to "Huh. Look at that."
- Emotion Suppression: Applied to everyone in the Collective - with their emotions 'switched off' in the fetal developmental stage - and obviously portrayed as a Bad Thing. Par for the course, this common dystopian trope is deconstructed to show how emotionally-suppressed people miss out on things like Love and then reconstructed, although in a negative way. Silas later willingly undergoes a permanent form when a cure for S.O.S. is discovered later in the film, unable to cope with the grief and anguish from his mistaken impression that Nia is dead. Having no emotions leaves you out on positive emotions, but they shield you from the negative ones as well.
- Emotionless Girl: More like People.
- Everything Is an iPod in the Future: Touchscreens are everywhere.
- Faking the Dead: Nia is technically dead in the eyes of the Collective toward the end, since her identity was switched with a suicide victim's to sneak her out of the D.E.N.
- Gone Horribly Right: Silas, who is anxiously waiting for Nia to return so they can escape together, asks about her and mistakenly thinks she's dead, driving him to an aborted suicide attempt and permanently turning off his emotions.
- Mandatory Motherhood: All adult females without a history of S.O.S. at some point have 'conception duty', where they are inseminated and get pregnant in order to keep society populated. As the name suggests, it's a social obligation.
- No Blood Ties
- No Sex Allowed: The beginning scenes show a couple being led away by security after being caught having sex. Sex is forbidden as it's an act of extreme emotion.
- Not So Stoic: Silas starts to develop S.O.S. and feel emotions through the course of the film, and later it's revealed that Nia was already capable of emotion a year before Silas did, she was just hiding it. She has an actual emotional response to seeing the suicide early on in the film, cluing the audience in.
- Passion Is Evil: Implied to be the reason why emotions are suppressed. The Collective justifies this for the sake of eliminating crime and violence.
- Released to Elsewhere: People at the last stage of S.O.S or people who transgress the rules are sent to the D.E.N, where they will be put to death. Most people are clearly aware of what actually happens.
- Secret Relationship
- Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Most of the film is on the Shiny side, with many scenes almost completely white. However, some tense scenes where Nia is dragged away to be imprisoned at the D.E.N. take place in a gritty, more industrial setting.
- The Stoic: Silas and Nia along with everyone else in the beginning, naturally.