When co-writers/co-directors Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson premiered their feature debut “Save Yourselves!” at the Sundance Film Festival early this year, they didn’t know how eerily and specifically prescient their film about hipsters at the end of the world would be.
Although extraterrestrials haven’t come to kill us all (yet), the film does predict apocalyptic details that have come to pass, such as a sudden fixation on baking sourdough bread and a crippling addiction to doom scrolling.
In fact, it’s the scrolling that serves as the impetus for the action of “Save Yourselves!” as Su (Sunita Mani) and Jack (John Reynolds), a comfortable yet unsatisfied Brooklyn couple, peel themselves off the couch and away from their smartphones in an attempt to disconnect to reconnect.
Su and Jack are trying to save themselves, but initially, it’s not from the imminent threat of danger, but rather the slow creep of dread. Su, an achievement-oriented type, is burned out working for an abusive boss. Jack, an appealingly puppyish and hapless fella, yearns for more meaning and connection in a world of shallow hipster hypocrisy. They decide to head to a friend’s cabin in upstate New York and turn off their phones.
But just as their search for authenticity is about to turn into a Reddit relationships post, murderous poofball aliens descend on Earth, and Jack and Su unexpectedly find the meaning and connection they seek in their own fight for survival.
How does it all end? Don’t go looking to “Save Yourselves!” for answers. It lands in an ambiguous middle that’s not too bleak or too hopeful and just falls flat — an exaggerated shrug.
But all the things that come before resonate, not just the sourdough and the scrolling, but the idea that things can and will change quickly, and that even in the worst of times, it’s worth it to find and savor small joys whenever and as often as possible.