Saturday, December 9, 2017

Marjorie Prime

Movie Name: Marjorie Prime
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Michael Almereyda
Stars: Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Lois Smith, Tim Robbins, Hannah Gross, Stephanie Andujar, Azumi Tsutsui
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
View Trailer

After the well received "Experimenter", director Michael Almereyda is back, with one of his best features (he came to prominence in the early 90s with "Nadja", which premiered in 1994). "Marjorie Prime" takes place in the near future, and focuses on the story of Marjorie. Marjorie is 85 and struggles with dementia. In order to alleviate these challenges, her daughter Tess and son in law Jon, have provided her with an AI type of assistant, which has taken the form of her deceased husband, Walter (when he was in his 40s). Through their interactions, conversations and mutual pool of memories, Marjorie can revisit parts of her past, and to a larger extent keep herself engaged and in the moment. Walter Prime (Prime is the name of the application that runs these AI assistants), keeps learning continuously, not just from Marjorie, but from Tess and Jon, in order to collect more memories and be more useful in its purpose. As the story evolves, we witness as the Prime application (and the forms it takes) becomes such a presence in the lives of these individuals.
"Marjorie Prime" is a film that is smartly built on the premise of memories being copies and interpretations of events that took place, but ones where humans access them continuously, but where they get more and more faded out as they get accessed. The Prime application, functions in the film as possibilities of closure and closeness to characters whose lives were shattered by the loss of someone, or for characters who never had a chance to deal with unearthed issues. Marjorie initially uses the program to remind herself of things she's losing, as she's battling dementia, but as the film evolves, and Tess then uses the program, and eventually Jon, it's interesting to see how they all try to capture something from the past, through their own prism, in order to achieve some sense of peace or understanding. It's a film that, similarly to a lot of interesting sci-fi concepts, questions how we interpret memories, events, and how sometimes finding the right place for these means nothing if these events aren't addressed, digested and truly comprehended. It's a very intelligent film, one that lives from interactions, and from the performances of their leads, all of whom are great in their roles. The film also features a beautiful soundtrack by Mica Levi, and an elegant cinematography from Sean Price Williams. A very good film worth watching.