Z for Zachariah Parent Review
By the time the credits roll, one wonders if the last woman on earth should not have been more careful when she prayed for a cure for her loneliness.
Alphabetically speaking, if Adam was the name of the first man on Earth, would the last one be called Zachariah? It’s a hypothetical question, and actually rather irrelevant to Ann (Margot Robbie) who is—as far as she is aware—the last human being left living.
About six years earlier, an unspecified nuclear disaster destroyed the planet. Miraculously, the valley where Ann was living avoided radiation contamination. Still the other residents, including her father and brother, were lost while trying to find possible survivors. Yet by faithfully obeying her Dad’s command to stay and keep the family farm going, Ann has hung on to existence.
Then one day she stumbles upon another breathing person, who she observes jubilantly climbing out of a radiation suit and into a pool of clear water. Horrified, Ann tries to warn the stranger that the waterfall feeding the pond comes from an impure source. But he mistakes both her unexpected appearance and her instance that he leave the water as hostile acts. It takes a few minutes and some gun threats before the real danger of the situation is understood.
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Full of compassion, Ann brings John Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor) back to her home, scrubs him off (partial nudity is seen) and nurses him through his ensuing radiation sickness. Because she is the daughter of a pastor, she also pleads with God to spare the fortyish man’s life. When he recovers, Ann feels like she has found a helpful companion and a fatherly protector.
John sees their circumstances somewhat differently. Not religious, he doesn’t accept the idea that they have been spared by divine intervention, although he does realize his scientific knowledge and mechanical skills, coupled with Ann’s agricultural experience, are the perfect match for giving the world a fresh start. And he hasn’t failed to notice they are the last man and woman on Earth…
It takes a while (and a lot of wine) before Ann resigns herself to her role as Eve in John’s plan for their future. And just about the time that she does, the most amazing complication occurs: Another man (Chris Pine) wanders into their Eden—and this one is young, handsome and Christian.
The introduction of Caleb turns the plot of this Robinson-Crusoe-like sci-fi into a rather tedious love triangle. Between the boys’ thinly veiled jealous comments are slightly seductive shots of Ann (especially her bare legs). She endures drunken passes from both suitors (one is verbally abusive and shouts a sexual expletive at her), until Ann herself begins to try to seduce her male companions. In one scene she removes her dress and is seen in her underwear. In another, she passionately fondles a man’s bare chest and he returns her interest with kisses, removing their clothes (bare backs and shoulders shown) and implied sexual relations.
Other content concerns are comments about the violent acts committed by desperate survivors (including John and Caleb), along with confessions of despair that border on suicidal thoughts. By the time the credits roll, one wonders if Ann should not have been more careful when she prayed for a cure for her loneliness. One thing is certain though: This new beginning for the human race will be beset by all the world’s old problems.Directed by Craig Zobel. Starring Margot Robbie, Chris Pine, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Running time: 95 minutes. Updated May 12, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Z for Zachariah here.
Z for Zachariah Parents Guide
In the movie Ann often plays the organ in a small chapel built by her father. What purpose does John propose for the building? Why is it so hard for Ann to consider destroying it? How is the church and its fate a metaphor for what is happening in the story?
If this tale is a modeled after the Adam and Eve story found in the Bible (Genesis 2:4 – 3:24), which of the characters represents Satan, who tempts the woman to sin? What does he use to entice her? What are the likely consequences if she follows him?
What would your priorities be if you thought you were the last person on Earth? What price would you be willing to pay for your survival?