Fantasia 2023 Review: The Gift of Hope in ‘The Becomers’

The Becomers

There is a lot going on in Zach Clark-written and directed comedy The Becomers, but in the best way possible. In fact, for a film about a body-snatching alien, it contains just the perfect amount of dizzying disarray.

Punctuated and guided by a narration that explains what happened leading up to the present action of the film, The Becomers follows the adventures of an alien who has come to Earth to survive the destruction on its home planet. The only way the alien can survive on Earth is through using various human bodies as hosts, and so it moves from one human to another as it works to first reunite with its mate, and then to live a happy life with them. This is, in other words, a love story. 

But The Becomers isn’t just a charming story about love, it’s almost head over heels in love with love, as it depicts its ability to thrive despite apocalypse, despite the world burning. In certain senses this film is deeply contextual, having deeply to do with the COVID pandemic and early 2020s hysteria around disease and the swirling paranoia around politicians stemming from their actual ineffectiveness in guiding us. But in another and more crucial sense, this film is timeless and hopeful, as it re-enlivens love, reminding us of what we have known for millennia: love always finds a way. 

Clark has created a beautiful riff on Aristophanes’ idea of what love is, as presented in Plato’s Symposium. According to Aristophanes, humans initially had the person they loved attached to them, but were separated by the gods, and so spent the rest of their life searching for their other half. Aristophanes’ story is what has given us the modern idea of finding our other halves when looking for love. The Becomers gleefully takes Aristophanes’ idea and runs delightfully with it. 

As the protagonist looks for their partner, they stumble into deeply human situations that, through literal alien eyes, are revealed stunningly for their absurdism. All the actors in this film deliver a stellar performance in turn as humans and then as bodies housing a lovesick and terrified alien. At the core of the film, there is the mystery of a senator held captive, and it unfurls in hilarious fashion as the protagonist alien inhabits the body of one half of a couple keeping a terrible secret. 

Things in The Becomers don’t make much sense until they do, at which point every aspect of the film slides satisfyingly into place to reveal a stunning patchwork of a film that, more than anything, is about the incompleteness of a life without love. The pandemic and even recent years of absolute mayhem and near apocalypse have given us much media that is dire, rightfully lacking in hope, replete with a fatigue too weak to muster up faith in hope, in love, in anything at all.

But The Becomers is not such a film. A vibrant comedy, The Becomers is a revelation and gift not only for its depiction of the power of love, that it can abide through and survive world shattering tragedy, but also because it offers us hope in this love, that it exists at all. When everything else seems to be burning down, when everything seems to be hopeless and crumbling in large part due to human hubris and fallibility, this gem of a film shows us that there is still something that we can hold on to, something that we can do right: love.

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