In the near future, a time of artificial intelligence: 86-year-old Marjorie has a handsome new companion who looks like her deceased husband and is programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance?
-The film won the Sloan Feature Film Prize, which includes a $20,000 cash award, presented at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. The award jury awarded the film for its "imaginative and nuanced depiction of the evolving relationship between humans and technology, and its moving dramatization of how intelligent machines can challenge our notions of identity, memory and mortality." See more »
WITH COMPUTERS ADVANCING, newer mobile devices being released at least three times a year and the chance of having a robot in our home quickly dawning. This brings the question; is the world of the sci-fi genre truly taking over the way people feel, with grief, love, humanity and memory? Well, with the latest instalments of sci-fi films such as Spike Jonze's 'Her', Alex Garland's 'Ex Machina' or perhaps as recent as this October with Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner 2049' the possibility of a cerebral mind taking over the world could be sooner than once thought. Or it could even be happening right now - the fact is we just wouldn't know it.
Welcome Michael Almereyda's adaptation of Jordan Harrison's Pulitzer-nominated study of memory, grief and love Marjorie Prime. Set in a future when death doesn't have to be the end, an elderly woman named Marjorie (Lois Smith) spends her final, ailing days with a younger holographic projection of her late husband Walter (Jon Hamm), spending as much time as possible conversing about the complex structure of memory and how much it can affect us the older we get. On paper, the film's plot is simple weaving between the memories she had with her daughter (Geena Davis) who hates the holographic being of her father, her career as a violinist, to dealing with grief after the death of her husband. However, under the paper Almereyda keeps you thinking as he carefully constructs thought-provoking questions of memory, grief, family, humanity and loss. Much like 'Her', he spends his time delving deeper into the complexity of the human mind, digging it out piece by piece delivering every piece on a silver platter leaving you to think about the pieces he leaves behind.
Visual-wise, there's not much to look at aside from the holographic projection of Walter, it's not like 'Blade Runner 2049' where there's CG imagery popping out at every corner of the screen. Almereyda keeps it visually sparse keeping your eyes fixed on one special effect. And Sean Prince's stunningly serene airy cinematography is fluid and varied enough to enchant through minimalist yet stunning chamber rooms to prevent the stage bound feel. While Marjorie Prime is a slow-burning conversational piece and may not be to everyone's taste, it's an intelligent, powerfully quiet and soulful piece that will keep you asking in-depth questions about the fragile construction of the human mind playing on history, emotions and humanity it'll be almost too hard to forget.
VERDICT Hamm and Smith are stunning in an unforgettable quietly poignant sci-fi breathing in fresh thought-provoking questions about humanity and feelings.
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