Cert: 12A Runtime: 99 mins Director: Michael Almeredya Cast: Jon Hamm, Lois Smith, Hannah Gross, Geena Davis and Tim Robbins
Why do you like me if I am an idiot?
Technology and humanity will intertwine in cinema until the end of days. The independent scene will always provide more of a thought provoking in-sight on this topic. Marjorie Prime debuted at Sundance 2017 it received the Sloan Feature Film Prize and rave critical reviews. After a long wait for a new Jon Hamm film, it has finally been released on demand and in cinemas. So what is Marjorie Prime about you ask? Eighty-six-year-old Marjorie (Lois Smith) spends her final, ailing days with a computerised version of her deceased husband (Jon Hamm). With the intent to recount their life together, Marjorie’s Prime relies on the information from her and her kin to develop a more complex understanding of his history. As their interactions deepen, the family begins to develop diverging recounts of their lives, drawn into the chance to reconstruct the often painful past.
Marjorie Prime is a powerful story by the end it takes you further than you thought. It’s a simple plot weaving between the memories of her daughter, her career, and her grief after the death of her husband. Michael 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. Almereyda takes the Walter hologram into a static interpretation that belies the humanity and emphasises the robotic nature of the creation. Emotion is missing, that ineffable element of loving so more important than the physical. In that regard the film succeeds in showing the second-rate nature of remembering facts when juxtaposed with emotion. The film accomplishes making us aware of the complex business of remembering, its imperfection, and its reflection of our own uncertain place in the memory of humanity.
Almereyda keeps it visually sparse keeping your eyes fixed on one special effect. Sean Prince’s stunningly airy cinematography is fluid and varied enough to mesmerise you through minimalistic chamber drama we witness. Marjorie Prime’s cast elevates the film to ahigh standard. Lois Smith delivers one of the strongest performances of the year. It was great to watch her lead a film rather than being a supporting character. Jon Hamm gives a stunning performance as Walter, very wooden but his eagerness to pleases his hosts layers Walter. Tim Robbins and Genna Davis, are a great realistic couple. It felt real and natural, just a phenomenal cast. 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 that will keep you asking in-depth questions about the human mind playing on history, emotions and humanity.