Empathy for my own clone

Review on Moon 2009 (Spoiler alert)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It drains to watch such a lonely film, but finally I did it. It’s a really impressive low budget thought-provoking film by Duncan Jones

What makes us human, and what is humane?

We are human because we have human features, some would say that we can think independently, we are able to make tools, we are unique in the level of abstractness with which we can reason about others, etc. etc., surely we are proud of what we are. However, what if some others share the same level of intelligence and emotions, are they human? Are the clones human? Should they be treated equally as human beings? Or they are just products to do whichever job need to be done, and disposed as a piece of trash? Is it inhumane to treat clones as objects rather than human beings? It is quite a controversial topic, and a lot of Si-Fi films have already discussed about it.

In Moon, the story is narrated from a clone’s perspective. All the Sams have transplanted memory about their past and their family. Some would say it’s fake memory, but I think what makes it real is whether the person who has it can feel it, whether he believe it’s really. So Sams are planted with fake real memory, and work hard and spend their short three years life lonely with the bubble Lunar company build for them, with hope, and all die when they finish their assigned job. It’s definitely not fair to Sam, because he has the same sensations and emotions as a normal person, but he’s treated as an object. He suffered, he hoped and all is a lie. As human beings we empathize, as an audience I stand for Sam, I think it’s inhumane to treat a life in such crucial manner. And I believe it’s one of the messages Moon wants to deliver, also makes people think about technology. Similarly in one of my favorites films Blade Runner(yes, I mentioned it again), it also raises the question about whether clones should be treated as we are. In Black Mirror: White Christmas, they also discussed the same question, although it is a digital copy of consciousness. We see a clone or a copy of human being suffer, we sympathize, but not much we can help, and I’m happy the day hasn’t come(yet?)

Empathy, that’s what makes us not to horrible things to other creature, but the precondition is that, you are aware of what’s happening, and it’s not hurting your own benefits. One thing I wish the film(or a sequel) could talk more is the reaction from people living on earth when they know about what’s happening on the lonely moon. It would be interesting to see it from different angles. What would normal citizen think? Would they detest Sam because he’s a lone and made his own decision to go back to earth? Would they think he’s a hero because he lives on the remote moon working on something for public good for three years and all his life is a lie? What would people in the Lunar company do? Would they apologize for what they did, would they kill Sam and pretend nothing happened? What would the original Sam think, how he is going to face another version of himself? Will he feel guilty because he abandoned his clones and leave them suffer? Would he treat them as aliens and insist he did nothing wrong? If there is a sequel about it, it would be really interesting.

What is family and why they are important?

One thing that the film shows how Sam can get through the loneliness for such a long time is the hope to go back home and sees his family again. But why family? why going back home and seeing family is so important that a person can live on it? Family is always the most important thing when one is living in a desperate life and suffering. We can always see in a war film, the soldier’s most important thing is a photo a letter of his family. Same in Moon, we can see there are photos of Sam’s wife and daughter everywhere. Receiving a message from his wife is like having a Christmas gift. Of course, love is one important role, when we love them, they can be reason to survive, they can be the faith for life. One more reason is because the structure of our society is showing everyone that family is defined as a social unit. We are social animals, I don’t think anyone could live alone by himself. It’s normal to take family as the sense of belongings It’s family, it’s home, it’s stable, you can relax and have faith in it. And family as a form of a stable, relaxing, social symbol has existed for hundreds or thousands of years, and there is no need to question it, because for my life span, it’s always been like that, in the past, at the present and perhaps in the future.

What if it’s different? Let’s imagine an alternative, what if the concept of family never exists anymore? What will support Sam to hold on? Or can we put it that way, because we have such a strong connection with family and the meaning it presents, it can be used as to manipulate a person’s will. Besides the romantic association, it’s also an indispensable tool to be used to maintain a stable social form, for good, or for bad. I would want to see there would be more freedom in terms of in which form a person wants to live as part of the society. Not because it’s publicized as this or that, but for what one really wants and believe in.


The acting from Sam Rockwell(apparently the story was written for him) is absolutely amazing, he totally showed the two different characters in different ways, and since they are both Sam, they are not all different, the subtle differences and similarity are presented really well to the audience. For example, when the scenes of them in/seeing the call with his daughter.
The music score is by Clint Mansell, (who also did Requiem for a Dream), it’s beautiful too.

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