• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

The Host

The Host

Directed by Andrew Niccol. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Diane Kruger, William Hurt, Chandler Canterbury, Frances Fisher, Scott Lawrence. (2013, PG-13, 125 min.)

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., April 5, 2013

Twilight scribe Stephenie Meyer’s 2008 sci-fi novel The Host was pitched at an adult audience, but this film adaptation feels like YA, with cat’s-cradle love matches, soft-focus sexuality, and a main character who never satisfactorily makes the transition from page to screen.

Andrew Niccol, a frequent imaginer of future-imperfect scenarios (Gattaca, In Time), adapts and directs this story of Earth under peaceable siege. After an unseen war in which an alien species seizes control by occupying human bodies, the planet has “healed itself.” The aliens (called Souls) are nonviolent, respectful of the environment, and exceedingly polite – all-around excellent additions to the neighborhood, were it not for that whole body-snatching business. When a Soul occupies a human body, the host’s consciousness typically melts away, but not so in the case of Melanie (Ronan), whose mind refuses to go quietly into the night, even as an alien named Wanderer sets up house in Melanie’s skin. When Wanderer arrives at a human resistance camp (set in a cave and a production-design triumph), she develops a crush on a resistance fighter named Ian (Abel), while Melanie, a victim of locked-in syndrome, continues to pine for her old boyfriend, Jared (Irons).

Three bodies plus four minds is some fertile arithmetic, but The Host can’t be bothered with the intellectual or kinky ramifications of its setup. Niccol is splashing around the strictly shallow waters of wounded looks and PG-13 secretive smooching, and the better-suited-to-a-book depiction of the Wanderer/Melanie dynamic – dreamy-eyed alien girl and the disembodied voice in her head – is fatally doofy.

READ MORE
More Andrew Niccol Films
Good Kill
Ethan Hawke pilots drones over Afghanistan from a trailer in the Nevada desert

Steve Davis, June 12, 2015

In Time
Andrew Niccol writes and directs this science fiction thriller that stars Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried.

Kimberley Jones, Nov. 4, 2011

More by Kimberley Jones
Star Trek Beyond
The Enterprise crew get trapped on a hostile planet

July 29, 2016

Life, Animated
The magic of Disney unlocks a boy's mind

July 22, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Host, Andrew Niccol, Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Diane Kruger, William Hurt, Chandler Canterbury, Frances Fisher, Scott Lawrence

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)