We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Stephenie Meyer, whose books inspired the "Twilight" (2008) movies, now presents a new way for true love to struggle against itself. In the "Twilight" world, characters were invited to become vampires to share more fully the lives of those they loved. "The Host" presents a possibility that, if anything, is a deeper commitment. Earth has been invaded by a race of "souls" who inhabit human bodies, stripping them of their memories and identities. It's the way the alien race survives and spreads.
We meet Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan), who through some sort of glitch, is inhabited by an alien soul but still retains, there inside her mind, her own identity. This leads to interior conversations between the Soul Melanie and the Earth Melanie. Soul Melanie (known as Wanderer) falls in love with Earth Melanie, even though in theory this isn't possible because the Wanderer has become Melanie. This intimate form of self-love leads to dialogue that will possibly be found humorous by some people. When Wanda is about to kiss the boy she loves, for example, the film uses voiceover to warn her: "No, Melanie! Wrong! No! He's from another planet!"
True, in our own lives, we pick up warnings on that frequency: No! You'll get pregnant! No! He's from the other side of town! No! He's your best friend's boyfriend!" I imagine this as a version of one of those debates where little angels with harps and devils with pitchforks perch on your shoulders.
Much of the film is set in New Mexico, where a band of surviving humans hides inside an "almost" extinct volcano. Using sunlight reflected by walls of mirrors they can crank up and down, they raise crops for their agrarian eco-system.
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The RogerEbert.com staff picks for the Oscars.