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Apparently, the movie Only recently dropped on Netflix after opening in March. That’s unfortunate timing since movie theaters closed by March 20, but it was also a limited release despite starring Freida Pinto and Leslie Odom Jr. Essentially it’s a new discovery on Netflix, and it’s worth discovering.

The ‘Only’ review you have to read

Only begins on Day 400 of a pandemic. Will (Odom) and Eva (Pinto) are holed up in their Hazmat lair. Eva hides when cops in riot gear come and inspect the place. Will talks them away for now, but when they leave, Will and Eva go on the run. 

Leslie Odom Jr. and Freida Pinto
Leslie Odom Jr. and Freida Pinto | Vertical Entertainment

The film flashes back and forth between the arrival of Cavino’s Comet, the development of the pandemic and Will and Eva’s current journey. Ash fall from the comet spreads a virus that only affects women. By the present day, there are so few women left that the government offers a reward of $2 million for any woman to help keep the human race alive. So, while on the run, Eva is both covering up her illness and trying to pass as a man. 

A pandemic movie in a pandemic

Only premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, so writer/director Takashi Doscher could not have anticipated the film would be quite so relatable. For that reason, if you’re reading this in 2020, Only might not be the movie you want to watch right now. Or, perhaps it will show you that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic isn’t as bad as it could be. 

Only: Freida Pinto
Freida Pinto | Vertical Entertainment

Will and Eva have procedures that are a bit more intense than wearing a mask and washing our hands. They keep cell phones in plastic bags to avoid touching, hang UV lights to kill airborne germs, boil water, eat canned food. Will goes out in a hazmat suit to get supplies. 

A pandemic marriage story

It causes tension in their relationship over different rules and burdens. Making the virus only affect women poses interesting questions about gender roles. Will is the one gathering supplies and protecting Eva because he’s the only one who can. Eva would be dead if she went outside and exposed herself to the virus. 

Only: Leslie Odom Jr.
Leslie Odom Jr. | Vertical Entertainment

That rightfully makes Eva feel victimized and powerless, but what’s the alternative? They have two bad choices: live like this or die. Actually, it gets worse. Eva has to remain hidden, not even talking to her family, because if the government hears there is a healthy woman somewhere, they’ll come take her for the repopulation project. That’s not a life either. People are having trouble in 2020 quarantine without government raids taking their women. Imagine if the risk factors were exponentially worse.

The ‘Only’ questions you need to ask

It’s disturbing that they’re talking about repopulating after just one year. Like, hold your horses. Perhaps the concern is if women are dying so quickly, they’d better have the next generation before there are no women left. But then what’s the plan? Any girls born would have to wait (hopefully) 18 years to repopulate again, and would be vulnerable to the virus the whole time. Maybe work on a cure first. 

Freida Pinto and Leslie Odom Jr.
Freida Pinto and Leslie Odom Jr. | Vertical Entertainment

‘Expecting Amy’ Review: Amy Schumer’s Baby Humor

Some men in the present expect other women to turn themselves in. It’s a hypothetical question to single men. Of course they think women should sacrifice for the good of humanity. What if it was your wife? What if it was your daughter? Your sister? Your mother? 

Only provokes fascinating questions like these while maintaining the tension of Will and Eva trying to survive the apocalypse. Be warned, it’s bleak. It probably won’t get you out of your quarantine funk but it is provocative food for thought when you’re ready.