Mahershala Ali stars in “Swan Song” premiering globally on Apple TV+ on Dec. 17.


If you knew you only had so long to live, what would you do?

Would you get your affairs in order?

What if you had a spouse and young son?

How would you tell them?

Those questions confront Cameron (Mahershala Ali) in the new Apple TV+ film “Swan Song,” which goes against the grain from other generic Hollywood movies and shows the great Ali at his absolute best.

In “Swan Song,” Cameron lives in a futuristic world.

However, not that much has changed from the past.

Travel has changed.

The hospitality business has changed.

But love, attraction and devotion has not.

In “Swan Song,” after Cameron orders an Echo candy bar and coffee from the computerized waiter, a beautiful young woman named Poppy (Naomie Harris) sits next to him on his ride to work.

Although Cameron has been silenced by Poppy’s presence and aura, an obvious attraction exists between the two people even though no one has stepped up to make the first move.

When Poppy begins eating Cameron’s Echo candy bar without permission, and Cameron joins her by sharing the candy bar, it becomes clear that chemistry exists between the starstruck train passengers.

In between eating and commuting to work, Cameron begins sketching an image of his new riding companion.

However, he still does not speak to her or even present her with his artwork before she gets off the train.

But when Cameron realizes that his candy bar is still in his briefcase, he realizes that he made a complete fool out of himself by eating a stranger’s candy bar right in front of her face.

In “Swan Song,” all is not lost because the two meet again, this time under more conversational circumstances.

Cameron gives Poppy the drawing of her he worked on during the previous trip, while also apologizing for eating half of Poppy’s candy bar.

And Poppy gives Cameron her phone number after the artist almost fumbles another opportunity at asking her out.

Fast forward a few years and Cameron and Poppy have achieved the American dream, for real.

The young, loving couple have a gregarious son named Cory who reminds Poppy so much of her twin brother, Andre.

In “Swan Song,” it is Andre who informs Cameron and Poppy about the new technology that allows people to “live on” when their days on Earth are coming to an end.

Some call it cloning.

Some call it regeneration.

Some call it duplication.

Whatever one calls it, the new technology that the company Our House has developed modifies a person’s DNA and clones them down to each molecule, which could possibly allow a person to “live” much longer than the Man upstairs had intended for them to live.

While Cameron had issues with regeneration or cloning when Andre brought it up during an early morning conversation, his current medical predicament has caused him to reassess his feelings on cloning.

In “Swan Song,” Cameron has begun experiencing debilitating seizures.

He has partnered with Our House to monitor his health and his lifestyle.

Unfortunately for Cameron, his health situation is only worsening.

It is only a matter of time before a seizure ends his life and then what?

Can he possibly leave his wife and son without a husband and a father when an alternative exists that will allow the family to go on without a hitch when Cameron takes his last breath?

But can he come to terms with duping Poppy and Cory into thinking that the new clone is actually him when he knows the truth?

The doctors and scientists at Our House assure Cameron that his family will not know a clone, that they have named Jack, has taken his place.

Jack will look identical to Cameron and will have all of Cameron’s memories and mannerisms.

The doctor informs Cameron that regeneration will one day become as commonplace as an organ transplant.

In “Swan Song,” Cameron has several dilemmas.

Obviously, his days on Earth and with his family are numbered.

But Cameron has two more conundrums.

If he waits too long to do regeneration, it might be too late considering his health issues.

Furthermore, if Cameron tells Poppy about the regeneration, he cannot go forward with the procedure.

For his regeneration to be successful, only two people outside of Our House can know of the procedure, Cameron and Jack.

“Swan Song” is a fire movie because of the concept.

The movie “Swan Song” spits flames because of the talent of Ali, Harris and the incomparable, Glenn Close.

While Harris has not received the critical acclaim of her two co-stars, she definitely has the talent and versatility to hang with the greats.

But “Swan Song” belongs to Ali.

The Academy Award winning actor from “Moonlight” can play every character from a street hustler to a musician to superhero to a dying father and husband with the same believability and intensity.

On a sour musical note, “Swan Song” begins in a very strange way.

The weirdness might turn off some at first.

But if moviegoers get into the heart and soul of “Swan Song,” they will experience a heartwarming and heartbreaking ballad that shows what a person will do to save their loved-ones from heartache and loss.

When a person truly loves someone like a family member, they will do whatever it takes to prolong their time with those people, even if they do not truly get to enjoy those last days like they would want to.






Todd A. Smith
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