In the near future, a time of artificial intelligence: 86-year-old Marjorie (Lois Smith) -a jumble of disparate, fading memories-has a handsome new companion (Jon Hamm) 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? Also starring Oscar-winners Geena Davis and Tim Robbins.
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Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2017
No idea how to rate this, so just putting an arbitrary 3 stars on it. The main thing to know up front is that this movie will resonate most with people who have lost a loved one or who are caring for elderly, disabled loved ones. I agree with all the reviews here, both the positives and the negatives. It is beautiful, thought-provoking, unexpected and moving. It also drags so bad the first half that I'm amazed I hung in there. The story and dialogue are intriguing, but it's so monotone, along with all that crashing ocean or rain, that you may zonk completely out. Honestly, I started doing other stuff and just left it running for a while. Later when it got better, I had to rewind to see what I'd missed. I was glad I did. This movie could have strongly benefited from better editing and prob on the writing, too. As the eldest of 3 daughters myself, I cared for both my elderly parents for years. It was very intense and difficult. It's been over 10 yrs now since they passed, but this movie made me think about them a little differently, and consider who my parents really were, especially before I came into their world. I cried after watching this movie, for the first time in months.
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2017
As artificial intelligence in its nascent form today continues to advance, I wonder whether we'll one day interact with simulations of people lost to us. Would that be a good thing? I don't know the answer to that—time to reflect and ponder, and no clear right answer probably exists. The film made me think along lines I hadn't considered before. For example, Geena Davis's character, quoting a researcher, said that we don't remember original events but instead recall the last time we remembered them—accounting for how our memories fade. (It reminded me of Dr. Pulaski's explanation in TNG of replicative fading: making a copy of a copy.) The movie makes plain and painfully visible the effects of declining health and faculties. It also touches on whether sentient AIs are capable of love and, perhaps, could be subject to the same degradation that organic beings experience.
Often I'm leery of movies that are free to Prime members (having seen recently a few flops). But as someone interested in how technology evolves—and who hopes to see the Singularity—I'm glad I watched this. Great performance by a small but powerful cast.
I hardly know where to start. I would say that if you are into action and fast paced scenes and dialog this isn't the movie for you. It's a cerebral and introspective look at life, death, relationships, loss and perceptions. The pace is quite slow, necessary for communication of the key elements of the story---passage of time and the nature of our relationships with those we love. All actors gave superb performances; this is the first movie I've seen with Gena Davis in many years. Jon Hamm was surprisingly good (I liked him in Mad Men, but this is SO very different), Lois Smith gave a nuanced performance as Marjorie and let's face it, Tim Robbins is fantastic no matter what he's in. A surprising cast that worked well together. This movie touches on the things we all think about as we grow older. There were a couple of scenes early in the movie (Marjorie has dementia) that brought up a lot of sadness for me; they seemed to have been filming my own sister in the last year of her life, it was that real. My advice if you're waffling on watching is to gauge your mood, keeping in mind this is not a movie that will necessarily lift the spirits.
Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2017
The premise is interesting and the acting, particularly by Tim Robbins, is terrific. But the script doesn't fully explore it's ideas, is too repetitious, lazy even after the first 30 minutes. Why must we be dropped in at the beginning of each 'Prime' training? Essentially, this is having to watch the first act played out 3 times over. Anyone intelligent and patient enough to stick with this film is also perceptive enough to pick up on the subtleties of seeing how the relationship between human and Prime would evolve over time. Though the ending is profound, it's muted by the tedious journey leading up to it.
All aspects of the script and cinematography were fresh and imaginative, cutting right through the edge of the proverbial repetitive envelope so taken for granted by even the best of films. The way it plays us off each other as a symposium of embodied personalities - real and artificial - contrasting with each other again in such intimately felt ways amidst the stillness & music.
My brother insisted I watch this one- and I'm so glad he did! Thought provoking! Many twists but not for shock value as much as letting the full story evolve and reveal itself when it is ready. Don't let the small cast or lack of car chases turn you off. LOL. This story is told mostly through its dialogue and subtle elements. Pay attention- small details are important and often come up later in the movie. Honestly, I''m not sure if I fully understand the very end but I'll be watching this again to see what I missed. Each actor delivered an incredible performance. Caution: I think there are a couple mistakes in the "starring" list on this Amazon description. Check IMDB fo the true list.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 23, 2018
Though pravoking sci fi drama about life and death,no Aliens,space ships or battles just thoughtful diologe and great acting.not everyone's cup of popcorn but that's what makes this film different from most sci fi films.