Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult feel feelings in Equals

Like all great love stories, Equals is about two people who want to bone but can’t. Only this time, it’s in a utopian future where emotions have been eradicated. Which leaves a society of people milling around like Sims with blank expressions on their faces. Apparently in the future, we also wear a lot of white.

Meet Silas (Nicholas Hoult). He’s just your average brainwashed zombie who eats, works and sleeps. In the beginning of the movie, we see he’s completed over 2,000 puzzles in his life because in a perfect world, nobody masturbates either. When Silas begins feeling things again, he’s diagnosed with SOS, a.k.a. “Switched On Syndrome”. Later when a man jumps off a building, he notices his co-worker, Nia (Kristen Stewart) has been hiding the “disease” too. After following her around like a creep, they eventually start hooking up in their office bathroom. As in, they like to meet up secretly to touch each other’s faces until they can figure out what goes where.

To avoid getting the cure, Silas and Nia conspire to run away together. They enlist the help of a local support group for others with SOS. What could possibly go wrong?

First love is a subject that director, Drake Doremus handles really well. The strongest parts of the movie are watching Silas and Nia fall in love. And Stewart and Hoult have such crazy good chemistry, their desperation feels all the more genuine.

But um, what’s with all the handheld camerawork? For such a structured and clinical world, it doesn’t make sense. Save for the love scenes, I want to watch them have a conversation without the goddamn camera moving around! Other than that, the cinematography and locations are gorgeous.

You could say Equals is 1984’s horny little sister, with elements of Romeo and Juliet. Although there’s no mention of politics, to me, it seemed like a beautiful allegory for homosexuality. There’s so much dialogue that sounds like a conversation between two people struggling with coming out. In one scene, Silas says, “I’m tired of being scared of getting caught. I just want people to know and not think we’re sick.”

Coincidentally, Stewart is on one of ELLE UK’s five covers for its “Rebel Edition.” The theme is activism and LGBT issues. Apparently she’ll be talking about her girlfriend, Alicia Cargile.

She’ll be joined by Amandla Stenberg, Hari Nef and Zayn Malik. There’s this weird expectation that all LGBT celebrities should be obligated to talk about their sexuality, as if they owe the world an explanation. But for those who choose to use their influence to raise awareness, even if it just helps some closeted kid in Middle America, that’s awesome.

Image credit: A24

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