‘Save Yourselves!’ Is a Much-Needed Tech Detox… Or Is It?

Maybe we’re too tied to our technology, addicted to social media and constantly checking messages. Maybe we’re losing the ability to really connect with the people around us because we’re too busy trying to connect to people elsewhere. Maybe we long for the ability to create tangible things, to work with our hands, to get dirt under our fingernails.

That, at least, is the conclusion that Su and Jack come to in the new sci-fi comedy Save Yourselves!

Su and Jack are a young couple in Brooklyn who are constantly on their phones and laptops, jumping to respond to every alert. So they decide they need a technology detox, and head off to a friend’s isolated cabin for a week: no phones, no email, just time in the real world and some sourdough starter. What they don’t know, though, is that the world is going to fall apart while they’re off the grid, with some hilarious results.

Before I say anything else, a note for parents about content: Save Yourselves! is rated R for language, and there’s plenty of it throughout the movie, including multiple f-bombs. That seems to be the primary reason for the rating, because there’s no sex (other than the fade-to-black, cut-to-next-day sort) and only a small bit of violence (a little gore, but primarily from a distance so it’s not too graphic), and a few instances of people drinking or smoking. Other than the language, I’d probably give it a PG or PG-13—I’d probably even consider watching it with my 7-year-old.. There aren’t any real jump scares, and most of the scariness is leavened with a lot of humor, so it stays pretty far outside the horror genre.

Sunita Mani (left) stars as Su and John Reynolds (right) stars as Jack in writer-directors Alex H. Fischer & Eleanor Wilson’s SAVE YOURSELVES!
Credit: Courtesy of Bleecker Street

The beginning of the movie establishes Su and Jack (and their friends) as incredibly earnest people who have conversations about things like appropriation and becoming vegetarians and learning how to apologize properly. I’m not even sure that it’s fair to call it parody because these are the sorts of conversations that many (usually politically left-leaning) people have—even when, like Su and Jack, it seems like they’re not really capable of doing anything that has an impact. It’s funny, yet also holds up a mirror to the audience: “We see you.”

Jack and Su’s feelings about being consumed by technology and wanting to get away may also feel very familiar to city dwellers after months of quarantine: how many hours have you spent on Zoom and Google Meeting this week? Wouldn’t it be great to spend time outdoors away from people? Maybe we should just move away, find some property somewhere, grow our own food…

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Sunita Mani (Su) and John Reynolds (Jack) are fantastic in their roles; their conversations feel both absurd and realistic. They’re both very funny, capable of making you laugh with the delivery of a line or even just a facial reaction. (And there is a good bit of physical humor throughout the movie.) It’s especially important because, for the bulk of the movie, the two of them are the only ones on screen: once they leave the city for the cabin, there’s very little interaction with other people at all, so you get a little of the intimacy of a stage play, and Mani and Reynolds carry it well.

I was given access to an early screener and watched it with my wife and two older daughters (13 and 16), and we all enjoyed the movie, though my kids weren’t quite as thrilled with the ending, which doesn’t wrap everything up in a tidy bow. My wife and I thought the ending was appropriate and well-done, but your mileage may vary. Just know that it’s not your typical Hollywood ending.

If that’s enough to pique your interest, I’d recommend watching the film without reading any more or even watching the trailer, which gives away a bit of the surprise, like the nature of the disaster itself. I had watched the trailer beforehand, and although it’s a fantastic movie that we all enjoyed, I think going into it knowing even less may make certain scenes even more entertaining.

Obviously, the moral of the story is that we should never disconnect, ever, in case the world is ending and our mothers are leaving us voice mails. In the meantime, enjoy this film—you can thank me later.

Bleecker Street will release Save Yourselves! in theaters nationwide October 2nd and on digital October 6th.

If you absolutely must, here’s the trailer:

Save Yourselves! movie poster
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This post was last modified on September 26, 2020 3:56 pm

Jonathan H. Liu

Jonathan H. Liu is a stay-at-home dad in Portland, Oregon, who loves to read, is always up for a board game, and has a bit of a Kickstarter habit. I can be reached at jonathan at geekdad dot com.

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