The new movie Equals stars Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult as star-crossed lovers in a futuristic society where emotions are not supposed to exist. The film, in theaters July 15, is certainly not the first drama to portray forbidden love in a dystopian society, and the story feels familiar in more ways than one. Yet what Equals is based on will most likely take fans by total surprise.
Technically, the screenplay was written by Nathan Parker based on a story by Drake Doremus, who is the film's director. But early press about the movie billed it as a remake of 1984, George Orwell's famous novel that was previously adapted for film multiple times. Equals has continued to be described in the media as an updated version of 1984, but producer Ann Ruark told Variety in 2014 that this characterization is incorrect. She said, “The story has been compared to ‘1984,’ but it’s not that at all. It’s a love story— it’s not dystopian, it’s Utopian.” However, some reviewers have noted that movie certainly does bear a strong resemblance to Orwell's saga, and it definitely conjures up memories of some other famous stories. Here are a few films that, although they were not the basis for Equals, share some similarities with the new film.
Romeo And Juliet
This 2013 movie starring Hailee Steinfeld was the third onscreen adaptation of Shakespeare's original tale of forbidden romance.
Stewart famously starred in the cinematic adaptations of the YA series about an unlikely, dangerous romance between a human and a vampire.
The concept of love is nonexistent in the dystopian world of this 2014 movie, which was based on Lois Lowry's YA novel of the same name.
This movie — also based on a novel— took place in a dystopian society after the zombie apocalypse. Hoult starred as a zombie who fell in love with a human girl.
Yet another YA adaptation, this series finds two young people falling in love amidst the backdrop of a dystopian society in post-apocalyptic Chicago.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
This 2004 dystopian drama showed that love is worth fighting for, even when it hurts.
As you can see, although Equals is an original movie, it walks in the footsteps of previous films that have adapted written works about forbidden love and dystopian societies for film. And since Stewart and Hoult both have previous experience with such movies, Equals may have some serious potential. Here's to hoping that love prevails.