Though this flick is marked as "science fiction" it is quite light in that category. It is about as "science fiction" as "Her" is, which is to say they're using the science fiction possible future to help bend the rules of reality to try to sell the story, with mixed
I went in with no prior knowledge of the film. Even after actively wanting to go in blank, the points were quite predictable. There were possibly a few red herrings but its hard to tell if these are intentional or accidental.
Visually, this film can be quite stunning. There is a mix of the mundane normality of life with moments of near-future sprinkled throughout but enough recognizable to keep things grounded. It feels realistically 'within our lifetimes'.
The score in this film is ok, a bit airy but it does its job. The problem with the score is when it is essentially blasted out at times. This can be a bit jarring the times when its unwarranted. However, the times it peaks at the right times, alongside the visuals or story reasons, can be very powerful indeed. The sound balancing seems to be all over the place, with one scene in a 'bumping' nightclub where two characters have to shout-talk followed by a scene of whispering. The score doesnt exactly help as often it is cranked up way too high to try to give it an appearance of kind of floating dreamlike quality. It often feels like they have the wrong slider bars up and down where they need to be reversed.
The story is... fine? Its kind of like 'Her' mixed with a drop of 'Ex Machina' with less existential dread for the humans and more for the androids. It feels like the story of 'Her' where the focus was on the AI vs the human character. The story honestly doesnt have very much to say.
Its plot crawls along at a snails pace for most of the movie, so if you're expecting action or dramatic dialogue, you'll be in for a bad time. What plot there is slowly unfolds along with the love and loss that the main characters deal with. There are a few sprinkles of side plot but these threads are left mostly dangling, with perhaps a line or two of dialogue attempting to close the plot holes but doing so very poorly. The rare side plots there are seem kind of abandoned around the mid point of the movie. In a way this feels like two scripts forced into the same movie with one taking place in the first half of the movie and the other script kicking in for most of the second.
Zoe feel like a bit of a mix between a date movie and definitely NOT a date movie, depending on how cerebral you/your date is. In the end, it lands on 'date movie' with how things turned out, quite happy to end sappy.
I was about to suggest that they could have made a better movie if they trimmed this down only to see that its 103 minutes. It felt like over 2 hours to me honestly! I'm shocked its so short yet feels so long. Maybe as a 15m short film it would have been better?
Zoe isnt horrible, far from it. However, aside from the moral question of "is it ok for a dude and a robochick to love", theres not much more there. Despite how lovely Zoe can, that in and of itself is not enough to elevate the movie beyond a passable 6/10.
A personal opinion is the same I have for a lot of AI movies. They create ultra-smart AI that is capable of acting and moving like a human and is all but indistinguishable from other humans but come with the benefits of being able synthetic, which means they dont eat or sleep, should have better reflexes and vision than any human, and should have the ability well beyond that of any human, yet they're relegated to companionship appliances as opposed to real-world uses they would do. If there were synthetic humanoid androids that were advanced enough to fool most people, they would quickly replace almost all jobs, leaving humanity left to their own devices.
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