Netflix presents Living With Yourself

Clone-zoned!

Reviewed by: Alicia Glass
Published on: March 5, 2022
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8880894/ (URL is not moviemoxie.net)
Available on: Netflix
Content release date: 2019-10-18

Reviewed by Steve McGowan

Miles Elliot (Paul Rudd) is an average kind of guy. He is stuck in a rut at work, and his relationship with his wife Kate (Aisling Bea) is strained because of fertility issues. She keeps reminding him to go to a fertility clinic, which he is dragging his feet about. A co-worker steals his thunder at work over an advertising campaign. But when said co-worker suggests he go to this spa where there’s a special treatment to rejuvenate his life, Miles reluctantly goes, and when he arrives it looks like a really dodgy establishment at a strip mall. However he sees Patriots quarterback Tom Brady emerge from the spa center, flashing a winning grin and saying he’s been to this particular spa “six times” (implying his six Super Bowl wins are because of this miracle treatment), Miles is convinced, even though he has to pay 50 thousand dollars up front for it (he pinches the money from a savings account for his fertility treatment). Clearly Miles is a gullible putz, but when he wakes up half-naked in a shallow grave, clawing his way out of a large plastic bag, he knows something has gone horribly wrong.

Some spoilers follow for the series, so if you don’t want to be spoiled stop reading and go watch, it’s a fun show.

So what happened to Miles? He was CLONED. The “spa” is an illegal genetics experiment facility that creates a “better” clone of yourself, complete with memories, while killing off the original. The clone has no idea he has been cloned, since he has all of the memories of the original. But, things don’t go as planned as the original Miles didn’t die; he just found himself buried alive, with no idea what has happened, in the dark. He manages to find his way back home, only to find that his clone is already there, whispering sweet pillow talk to his wife. Miles is pissed at everything, the clone completely oblivious, and when the two see each other for the first time, their worlds shatter.

At first, the Mileses freak out and start fighting, but afterward they agree to go to the “spa” to figure out what’s going on. There, they ask the two guys running the place to explain their predicament, and they come clean. They run a clinic for “rejuvenation”, highly illegal but highly effective; make a better clone and kill the original. However this is the first time they botched the murder, and returns Miles’ money for their silence. Clone-Miles is devastated that he isn’t the “real” Miles, and agrees to leave forever.

However, for the entire day that the real Miles was drugged and buried, Clone-Miles, exiting the spa unaware of his true nature, finds himself to be more cheerful, positive, and he finds he doesn’t even need his glasses anymore. From his point of view, whatever they did at the spa worked for him. He spends his day frolicking in farms, and going to work with upbeat positivity. His newfound vigor impresses his boss, and he creates an amazing pitch for the advertising campaign his company is working on. After Clone-Miles leaves, the real Miles returns to his job only to find he has no idea what his own pitch is, as the clone did all the work. He calls up Clone Miles again, and they come to an arrangement: Clone-Miles would go to work for a week and sort it out, while the real Miles stayed low. After the week is over, the clone would presumably have to leave.

Except, the clone doesn’t want to. From his point of view, he IS the real Miles. They’re both the same person, essentially, and thus from this far-fetched premise comes the literal answer to the question, “could you live with yourself?” The answer is quite complicated. It is both a yes and a no, as the Mileses plot one hijinks after another to ensure nobody finds out about their little predicament, not even Kate. Meanwhile they both have to work together, yet they both resent each other, and understandably so. The real Miles hates that the clone is “better” than him in every way, and the clone hates the real Miles because of how he was unfairly created and given Mile’s memories yet isn’t allowed to live the life he remembers to have. He too loves Kate, but from his point of view he woke up one day and found he can’t be with her anymore, forever.

The story is told through various points of view, with each episode often revisiting the events of the day from a different character’s point of view: Miles, Clone-Miles, and Kate. The result is a very compelling and delightfully intricate narrative that weaves its way around the audience, letting us experience and empathize with every single one of the main characters as they face this fantastical predicament. Paul Rudd’s acting is top notch, as he creates two different characters that are quite distinct, even though they’re both kind of the same person. Aisling Bea also gives a top notch performance as Mile’s wife, her story just as important as the Mileses’.

As riveting as the storytelling is, the ending of the series veers a little close to the “overused tropes” category, but other than that this is top notch television from Netflix. I give “Living With Yourself” 4 out of 5 Paul Rudds.