Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Spoiler Space: iSelf/less/i

Thoughts on, and a place to discuss, the plot details we can’t reveal in our review.

Self/less’ big twist—which comes relatively early on—reveals that Damian Hale’s new body was not grown in a lab, as he was told, but in fact belongs to a broke ex-Marine who sold it in exchange for a cash payout to cover his daughter’s medical bills, disguised as a life insurance policy. The hallucinations he experiences are actually bits of his host’s memory struggling to regain control; the little red pills suppress them, and will eventually erase any trace of the body’s original owner.


Besides the economics at work in this exchange (though never directly stated, it’s implied that the payout was around $250,000, or one 1,000th of what Hale paid for the body), there’s something poignant about the fact that Hale has “shedded” into the body of a more decent man: a lower-middle-class Missourian whose self-sacrifice for the sake of his wife (Natalie Martinez) and elementary-school daughter (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) casts a light on the failure of Hale’s own marriage and on his relationship to his estranged daughter (Michelle Dockery).

And it might just work, if the movie established any continuity between the Damian played by Ryan Reynolds and the one played by Ben Kingsley—a cutthroat businessman introduced pushing a young upstart out of the business—or if its vision of personal happiness weren’t so clunky and generic, complete with one of those beachside getaways familiar from cruise ship commercials and herpes medication ads.

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