Oxygen Parent Guide
With no big set piece action scenes, this clever film relies on critical decisions to keep the audience invested.
Parent Movie Review
Although waking up in the morning isn’t fun for everyone, it’s worse for some than others. For one young woman (Mélanie Laurent), waking up today means she finds herself sealed in a cryogenics pod. After she tears off some of her restraints, she meets MILO (Mathieu Amalric), the Artificial Intelligence responsible for managing her wellbeing and the pod’s systems. With no apparent contact with the outside world and dwindling oxygen supplies, she must work fast to find out what’s happening if she wants to make it out alive. But that’s not going to be easy, since she can’t seem to remember who she is or how she got there.
I was cautiously optimistic about this movie based solely on the one other film I’ve seen by director Alexandre Aja: namely, the disaster/thriller Crawl, which focuses on a young professional swimmer who sets out to evacuate her father while a Category 5 hurricane rocks the area, all in alligator infested waters. While Oxygen could not be any more different in terms of tone and content, I was relieved to see that Aja still has the ability to hold my attention.
Oxygen has neither a large cast nor elaborate sets. The vast majority of the screen time is devoted to one young woman in a small box, but the film makes the most of it. Instead of having big set-piece action scenes, the film relies on small, personal moments and difficult decisions to keep the audience tense and invested. As things go from bad to worse for the protagonist, the audience is dragged along into an increasing sense of claustrophobia and anxiety.
Obviously this movie is a bad choice if you already have claustrophobia. If the thought of being more or less confined to a small pod for nearly two hours has you hyperventilating, then you’re better off finding something else to watch. However, there’s little else in this film to discourage viewers. The profanity is quite limited, there is no direct violence (apart from a few icky medical scenes involving needles), and there’s no sex or substance abuse to speak of. Apart from being unusual for a movie with a TV-MA rating, this is extra unusual for a French film. In my experience, they tend to push those boundaries a little more. If you don’t mind needles, confined spaces, brief profanity, or reading subtitles, you should find this thriller intriguing. I think Oxygen is well worth watching for most young adult or adult audiences. My recommendation? Watch is in a nice, bright, open room with a good breeze and natural light. I think watching this in a basement might be a mistake.Directed by Alexandre Aja. Starring Melanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release May 12, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for Oxygen
Rating & Content Info
Why is Oxygen rated TV-MA? Oxygen is rated TV-MA by the MPAA
Violence: Some dead bodies with serious injuries are briefly seen. Lab rats are seen suffering as the result of procedures. Several scenes depict needles and medical equipment with some blood.
Sexual Content: A married couple is seen in bed nude from the shoulders up.
Profanity: There is one extreme profanity and several scatological terms.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An individual is briefly shown smoking tobacco in the background of one shot.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
Oxygen Parents' Guide
What is the point of cryogenics? Where is that technology now? What other technologies in this film are based on real sciences? What are the ethical issues surrounding those developments?