The sci-fi rom-com is a genre balancing act. Lean too heavily on romance, and the worldbuilding feels fake. Lean too heavily on science fiction, and the romance can feel like an afterthought. It’s a wide spectrum, but movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to Earth Girls Are Easy all find the right balance.
And how do you strike a perfect balance? This 2019 film may just be a masterclass in walking the tightrope between the two genres. Here’s why you should watch this movie on Netflix immediately.
Eggnoid: Love and Time Portal is a 2019 Indonesian film directed by Naya Adindita. A movie adaptation of a popular webtoon, Eggnoid makes no fuss about its premise. Ran is a young girl mourning the loss of her parents. She’s at her most lonely. Because of this, she gets an Eggnoid assigned to her: an alien humanoid creature who exists purely to keep a human company.
The film starts with the first anniversary of Eggy’s introduction to Ran’s life, and they’re nothing more than best friends and roommates. Eggy has a job at a frozen yogurt shop, and Ran’s in school studying game design. It’s the perfect setup, but Eggy is falling helplessly for his assigned human.
The rest of the movie plays on tropes of forbidden love: Eggy’s handlers warn him they can erase his memories if his attachment to Ran is too great. They give him an ultimatum: He must avoid committing the seven deadly sins. If he commits three sins, he’ll be reassigned.
But Eggy isn’t about to let that get in the way of him and Ran. Through some alien technology, he does the most romantic thing there is in sci-fi — he sacrifices one of his sins to travel in time with Ran so she can properly say goodbye to her parents.
Eggnoid: Love and Time Portal follows many familiar beats, but the way the film approaches them is completely brand new. Part of that can be chalked up to differences in culture — the way Eastern cultures approach romance varies from the typical Hollywood love story. But another part of it is the big swings this film takes by trying something new.
Because it’s based on a webtoon, there’s heart and humor in every second. We see it when Eggy’s coworker stoically stacks paper cups on her head while cracking pearls of wisdom about love, and when a small kid points at Eggy’s glowing alien tattoo and remarks, “Hey, it’s Iron Man!”
In an era of the “gritty” sci-fi movie, this lighthearted time travel movie is the perfect antidote.
Eggnoid: Love and Time Portal is now streaming on Netflix.