Mr. Nobody (2009)
A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.
In the year 2092, one hundred eighteen year old Nemo is recounting his life story to a reporter. He is less than clear, often times thinking that he is only thirty-four years of age. But his story becomes more confusing after he does focus on the fact of his current real age. He tells of his life at three primary points in his life: at age nine (when his parents divorced), age sixteen and age thirty-four. The confusing aspect of the story is that he tells of alternate life paths, often changing course with the flick of a decision at each of those ages. One life path has him ultimately married to Elise, a depressed woman who never got over the unrequited love she had for a guy named Stefano when she was a teenager and who asked Nemo to swear that when she died he would sprinkle her ashes on Mars. A second life path has him married to Jean. Their life is one of luxury but one also of utter boredom. And a third life path has him in a torrid romance with his step-sister Anna, the two who, as adults, would search for each other after having been torn apart as teenagers. These life paths also intersect, with the three women sometimes entering the alternate life in some other aspect. Are any of these lives real or are they all a figment of his imagination?
In a utopian future, Nemo is the oldest and last man to ever have the choice of immortality. The film explores Nemo as a young boy faced with an impossible decision: should he stay with his father or leave with his mother? The film is based around all of his possible lives that could occur, of which are all dependent on his one decision.
- Mr. Nobody is a tale about choice. Nemo, a nine year old boy, has been thrust into a position where he must make an impossible decision - to choose between his mother and father. In the seconds preceding the rest of his life he wonders where each choice will take him. The forces of the universe working to bring about total chaos are counteracted by this boy's overactive imagination. The dilemma that causes the films main problem (not knowing the future) once solved makes it all the more difficult - "I don't know the future, therefore I cannot make a decision. Now that I know the future I still cannot make one". The eloquent interplay between philosophical lifestyle and what forges reality, is epitomized by the constant change in story line, between young boy, adolescent man, and mature man. Corresponding to each particular stage is a certain soundtrack. The movie takes a four-dimensionalists view of the nature and existence of life in the universe. Each decision thus branching off creating an entirely separate alternative universe. Mr. Nobody raises many ontological arguments about the subjective nature of time. How actions have universal consequences, how the past inevitably shapes the future in a very impacting way - every single choice, no matter its simplicity or complexity can make, alter or change a lifetime.
The film also makes good use of chaos theory, string theory and the butterfly effect to accentuate the lack of control we as individuals possess. Often at each stage of his life there is a scene where Nemo is subject to the whims of chance, often plunging into water, a place where we lacks all control. This is a visual symbol of the powerlessness attributed to the human condition. The aforementioned theories are used to compound reality in the film, it is why the smoke never goes back into the cigarette, time is always moving in one direction. At the end when you assume that the universe is on the precipice of ultimate chaos, time halts, and it begins to reverse. Thus signalling the absolute freedom Nemo had been seeking - being able to live a life without choice, for while you never choose all things remain possible. There will be no causal relationship i.e. cause and effect because you never set in motion a catalyst. And so the tale of Mr. Nobody reflects a life of choices, whether or not we made the correct choice and what would happen if we could go back and change them.
In the reveal Mr. Nobody age 118 states that it doesn't matter what we choose, because each choice, once made has just as much significance as any alternate choice. The film portrays a life where we are all subject to chance, to the dimensions by which we construct our reality (height, length, width and time), and to the imagination of our former selves. And once the boy Nemo knows the outcomes of either choice, he instinctively opts for another. He chooses the path least travelled, the one that yields the greatest love, and in a very romantic convoluted way, this seems to be the message of the film, to search for and ultimately choose love and happiness above all. written by Ash Victor vowles
LOGAN'S RUN - meets - CLICK - meets - BENJAMIN BUTTON?