Despite the sci-fi trimmings—or, really, in perfect sync with them—the anxiety After Yang generates has the gentle, humming pervasiveness of real life. It’s trying its best to tell us about the world.
When a malfunction causes “techno-sapien” robot Yang (Justin H. Min) to indefinitely power down, his surrogate family misses him; no gleam that could ever be mistaken for mania has seemingly ever appeared in his eyes. But After Yang, adapted from a short story by Alexander Weinstein, is one of the few science fiction films since A.I. to explore the unnervingly seamless transition between uncertainties about artificial intelligence and anxiety about the nature of our own humanity. Also like the Spielberg film, it further complicates the issue by bringing in the practical impossibilities of parenthood.
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