IO on Netflix is a quiet science fiction love story starring Margaret Qualley and Anthony Mackie from French filmmaker Jonathan Halpert; however, this is not your typical love story between man and woman. Instead, it is a love story between a woman and Earth.
Before watching the film, treat yourself to the story of Zeus and Leda. Then, meet Sam, played by Qualley, a young woman who was trained by her father to survive in a world where carbon levels are too high for humans to live at lower levels of elevation.
Most of humanity has died, and the few who remain must live in the mountains or travel with oxygen tanks and masks.
Sam’s father was a scientist who believed that through evolution, humanity could survive the change and remain on Earth. Most of the people who did not die, left Earth for a base in space and efforts to seek a new home on IO, a moon circulating Jupiter.
Sam meets Micah, played by Mackie, who travels in what looks like a space capsule on a hot air balloon. Mackie found Sam because of the transmission Sam plays of her father’s to invite other people who chose not to leave Earth to come to their location.
Sam carries out the work of her father, running tests and experiments, even on herself, to see if honey bees can adjust to the new atmosphere, giving her an indication of whether or not humans can do the same.
The film is an honest look at the needs humans have, their drive for survival, and their love for one another’s company and for Earth and all of its wonders, no matter how formidable.