24 user 24 critic

Dopamine (2003)

A San Franciscan computer programmer falls in love with a schoolteacher in the days after the dot.com boom.


Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Sarah McCaulley
Tom - Rand's father
Nicole Wilder ...
Julian Diminyatz ...
Wanda McCaddon ...
Margie - Rand's mother
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Timothy Breitbach ...
Mike the bartender
Emma Kanter ...
Bubble Girl
Ivan Kraljevic ...
Sleazy Guy
Dennis Yen ...


Rand, Winston, and Johnson have a small tech startup company in the Bay Area that's developing a artificially-lived computer character, Koy Koy the bird, who can hear and see and interact with the user. Koy Koy gets placed in a kids schoolroom for testing, and Rand develops a relationship with one of the teachers, Sarah. Rand learns that his scientific understanding of human mating isn't necessarily a roadmap for the real thing. Written by Martin Lewison <dr@martinlewison.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexuality and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 January 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Допамин  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$22,278 (USA) (10 October 2003)


$22,278 (USA) (10 October 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Sundance Channel Library Print) (dvd release)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of the first films to use the Panasonic AJ-HDC27 Varicam Digital Cinema Camera. See more »


[last lines]
Sarah McCaulley: Morning, sleepyhead.
Rand: I was dreaming of you.
Sarah McCaulley: You were?
Rand: [laughs] Yes, I was singing to you in my dream.
Sarah McCaulley: Singing? What song?
Rand: That Bob Dylan Song? 'Sara'?
Sarah McCaulley: [laughs] I'd love to hear it!
Rand: Oh, no.
Sarah McCaulley: Koy-Koy needs to sing.
See more »


Written by Bob Dylan
Performed and Produced by Tim Hockenberry
Courtesy of Ram's Horn Music 1976
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Not entirely successful, but promising (**1/2)
6 December 2003 | by (Sacramento) – See all my reviews

Dopamine is the chemical emitted by the brain that creates pleasure when we're in love. So is that all love is? A chemical in our brain that makes us want to procreate? Or is there something more to it, something in our "hearts"?

These are the issues at the center of "Dopamine", a likeable but insubstantial indie comedy/drama from new director Mark Decena.

Set in San Francisco, it's about a computer programmer named Rand (John Livingston), who is working with 2 other guys on an interactive children's program called Koy Koy, named after the cute little digital bird that the kids are supposed to talk to. In shopping the program around, he meets Sarah (Sabrina Lloyd, from TV's great, cancelled "Sports Night"), a complicated kindergarten teacher, and they begin dating.

The relationship is tense because Rand is emotionally withdrawn having not yet fully dealt with his mother's tragic Alzheimer's, and has become convinced that love is nothing but a chemically-induced illusion in our brains (dopamine), after hearing his father's bitter diatribes on the subject.

One of the movie's very good qualities is that it takes time to ponder this issue, whether love is only a chemical reaction or if it's something more. It doesn't offer any concrete answers, but how could it? Also, the acting is mostly very good (particularly by Sabrina Lloyd), and the San Francisco cinematography is excellent and atmospheric.

On the minus side, though, there's just not very much to it. It's working from a unique angle, but otherwise it's pretty much like every other mopey, arsty indie love story. And even at an extremely short 79 minutes, it feels a little padded.

I saw "Dopamine" at a screening where director Mark Decena and executive producer Eric Koivisto spoke afterwards and did a Q & A. They are young, friendly and talented guys, and even though THIS movie is not entirely successful, it's promising and full of potential. I wish them the best.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: