A strange energy resonates with the new Netflix Original series “Living With Yourself.”
The story kicks off with quite an odd entrance. Waking up from a shallow grave, Miles Elliott, played by Paul Rudd, crawls out of the ground wrapped in plastic, resembling a frightening rebirth. Released on Oct. 18, it certainly felt like a creepy October-themed show during the first few episodes. The odd circumstances of the opening scene reminded me of the scene in “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” where Ace was birthed by a rhino.
It is no secret that the show is about a cloning mishap, hence the name “Living With Yourself.” Elliott discovers the troubles of living with who he truly is versus his clone, planting deeply seeded problems into his mental state and relationship with his wife Kate, played by Aisling Bea.
The themes of the show present modern life issues which appeal to mature audiences. One idea represented by the series is to learn more about yourself when dealing with depression and mental issues. Working to be the best version of yourself is a great life lesson. The men at the cloning spa even follow this model of life—for the wrong reasons. The original Elliott questions why he can’t be happy in life, while his clone ironically does the same, even though he is mentally and genetically enhanced to be happier. His half-sibling Maia, played by Alia Shawkat, tells him the reason why he never earned his happiness: work for happiness to truly earn it. No amount of money can buy happiness and karma will run its course for consequential actions.
For his first time playing a dual role in the television and film industries, Rudd greatly portrayed two similar yet completely different characters. The show swaps back and forth each episode from the perspectives of new and original Elliott, giving viewers two sides of one singular story. The slightly confusing nature of the plot and non-chronological timeline knocks down the overall score of the show by half a star.
Despite confusion, the thought of two people derived from the life of one person attracts interest. One mind and one love, both divided into two unequal sides. This poses a life question that many of us have to face: who do we want to be as people, and is that more important than the person that we currently are?
The scenes specifically featuring both versions of Elliott in the same vicinity were a great use of block shooting and computer editing. There was a glazed-over look in the eyes of the replicated Miles Elliott throughout the series, indicating the clone had a happy twinkle in his eyes. I couldn’t help but notice a slight difference between the two images. Nonetheless, every scene was well-directed and seemed utterly realistic. Tom Brady, a football quarterback playing for the New England Patriots, made a surprise appearance in the show to spice up the idea of a pleasant “spa” experience.
Whether you enjoy shows for modern life themes, the idea of a fantasy world escape or just want to find interest in a new Netflix series, this show may be for you. Just don’t watch it in front of kids, as it’s rated TV-MA for a reason.
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