Landscape with Invisible Hand Parent Guide
This look at the psychological strain of living under alien occupation avoids treading familiar theatrical ground and takes advantage of the creative breadth of the sci-fi genre.
Parent Movie Review
When the alien Vuuv civilization subjugated Earth in 2026, life for humans changed forever. Now humans are left scrabbling for a vanishing living on the planet’s surface, or, if they’re lucky, they find humiliating work up on the floating cities preferred by the Vuuv.
High school student Adam Campbell (Asante Blackk) is comparatively lucky: despite being down on the surface, his mother Beth (Tiffany Haddish) managed to hold on to the family home, and he and his sister Natalie (Brooklynn MacKinzie) still go to school. There, Adam meets Chloe (Kylie Rogers) and the two hit it off. Chloe’s family is less fortunate, and they’ve been sleeping in their car under an overpass. Adam invites them to come stay over, and he and Chloe keep spending more time together, eventually hatching an idea - the Vuuv have no concept of love, so there’s a big market in “courtship broadcasts”, where couples livestream their entire relationship. They start racking up some cash, but the growing tensions between their families and the ongoing stress of constantly broadcasting your high-school relationship to thousands of aliens isn’t making life any easier.
Science fiction is a broad category, and if you’re watching this because you expect a dramatic action flick about some burgeoning guerilla war of human resistance – keep looking. Landscape with Invisible Hand is a more cerebral look at the psychological difficulties of living in some hellish alien panopticon. Unsurprisingly, it’s a lot like living in a hellish predatory capitalist panopticon, just with weirder management. Good sci-fi is never as much about lasers and spaceships as it is about modern society.
Strong performances from the main cast and an interesting script keep this movie chugging along, but the pacing is inconsistent, and the first act drags in places. Parents are going to have more concerns about the profanity, but for an R-rated movie, this film comes in pretty soft with a half dozen sexual expletives and some minor drinking. One graphic on-screen suicide near the beginning is about the only other major issue here, and it will upset viewers who are sensitive to violence.
I’m willing to look past some of the movie’s rough spots, you’ll note that the script takes some real creative risks and is willing to lose some of its audience to stick to that story. I think this is a compelling, well made, and interesting approach to an alien invasion story, and I’m glad I saw it. But if you’re not into sci-fi that would fit right in at a local film festival, you might want to find your alien invasions elsewhere.Directed by Cory Finley. Starring Asante Blackk, Kylie Rogers, Tiffany Haddish. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release August 25, 2023. Updated December 27, 2023
Landscape with Invisible Hand
Rating & Content Info
Why is Landscape with Invisible Hand rated R? Landscape with Invisible Hand is rated R by the MPAA for language and brief violent content
Violence: A character shoots himself in the head.
Sexual Content: There are some vague sexual references. Couples are seen kissing.
Profanity: There are six sexual expletives, nine scatological curses, and infrequent use of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are occasionally seen drinking. In one scene, a teenager is given a beer by an adult.
Page last updated December 27, 2023
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Other offbeat sci-fi stories can be found in films like After Yang, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Sorry to Bother You, Spontaneous, The Vast of Night, and Arrival. Alien invasions with a little more action include Independence Day, Captive State, War of the Worlds, The Tomorrow War, Oblivion, The Host, Signs, and Edge of Tomorrow.