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Conceiving Ada (1997)

Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi | 19 February 1999 (USA)
2:42 | Trailer
Emmy Coer, a computer genius, devises a method of communicating with the past by tapping into undying information waves. She manages to reach the world of Ada Lovelace, founder of the idea ... See full summary »
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Emmy Coer
Timothy Leary ...
Lady Byron / Mother Coer
John O'Keefe ...
John Perry Barlow ...
John Crosse
J.D. Wolfe ...
Nicholas Clayton
Owen Murphy ...
William Lovelace
David Brooks ...
Children's Tutor (David)
Esther Mulligan ...
Ellen Sebastian ...
Dr. Fury
Mark Capri ...
Joe Wemple ...
Priest / Talk Show Host
Chris von Sneidern ...
Musician In Elevator
David Eppel ...


Emmy Coer, a computer genius, devises a method of communicating with the past by tapping into undying information waves. She manages to reach the world of Ada Lovelace, founder of the idea of a computer language and proponent of the possibilities of the "difference engine." Ada's ideas were stifled and unfulfilled because of the reality of life as a woman in the nineteenth century. Emmy has a plan to defeat death and the past using her own DNA as a communicative agent to the past, bringing Ada to the present. But what are the possible ramifications? Written by James Callan <james@oz.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy | Sci-Fi


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

19 February 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Clone of Ada  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A director's statement in the film's production notes says that the film was "structured around the idea of a double helix". "Every scene," the notes say, "was structured and shot using a DNA image as a model for actors' placement and camera movement." See more »


Ada Augusta Byron King, Countess of Lovelace: I'm not at all certain that half a life is better than no life at all.
See more »


References The Piano (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

Passionate calculation maybe, but deeply flawed
29 January 2007 | by (North West England) – See all my reviews

I'm the sort of person who went down to the local library and read books on Babbage's difference engine whilst my schoolmates were playing football etc.. So, if there is any such thing as a target audience for this film, then I guess I'd probably be included in that.

Maybe I just need to watch it again. A previous reviewer mentioned not to watch this film whilst being tired. Maybe that was my mistake.

I tried my best to enjoy this film, and there are aspects of it that I do like, but overall I found it amateurish and quite plodding.

Being somewhat of a self confessed computer nerd, I just can't help but pick up on the exact time frame when the movie was actually made, and how the employed graphics reflect that time (i.e. 1997). Having played games of the era c.f. "Mind Grind" to cite one example, this film cannot escape that 16-bit colour low res multimedia explosion of that time. Now thankfully this has somewhat lessened in more recent years in the gaming world at least, in favour of actual game play.

Having to resort to watching this movie via a German FTA satellite channel (as I don't think it's ever been aired on UK FTA TV, well not recently anyway), I was mildly amused to see the end credits note Gottdog (God dog) had 4 people working on it's design. Maybe it's mean spirited of me to be amused by this, given that ten years have elapsed since the movie was made, nevertheless the end result makes movie graphics from the eighties look good by comparison.

But, as for the main story, I agree that the format isn't the best idea. Like others I agree that Ada deserves a film without the sci-fi angle, and a more straightforward biographical approach would perhaps be better suited to covering the life story of this remarkable lady.

There are fundamental mistakes that undermine my enjoyment of this movie. First of all the underlying idea that somehow lost real-world information from the past can be accurately reconstructed through some sort of extrapolation via software based intelligent agents, seems somehow ludicrous.

Also, the theme running through the movie that a computing device can indeed predict the mechanics of all things through the course of time (e.g. the winds) is now known not to be the case.

OK, so the Victorians may have held this view, but the 20th century works of Gödel proving that no mathematical system can be complete, Turing's works on the limits of computability, not to mention chaos theory and quantum mechanics, have all completely undermined these ideas, which seem central to how the modern day researcher's software is supposed to work.

Finally, the clicking of the mouse in the air to mean "programming" is also just plain wrong, as previously mentioned.

This film maybe could have been OK, but at least some technical and scientific consultation would have given the film some much needed credit in the believability stakes.

I won't forget the film though, as like "Pi", it is clearly a unique work, but with too many fatal mistakes for me to truly enjoy it, 3/10 from me.

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