Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Rhys Ifans, Juno Temple
Director: Jaco Van Dormael
“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” (IMDB).
What to Expect
50 Shades of Jared Leto
Two parts love story
A dash of cosmology
Why You Should Watch It
The cinematography is eye-catching. The male lead is eye candy. The story is complex and convoluted and takes you on so many different journeys, but just as you’re about to say, “Wait, how…?” the narrative stalls and one of the characters asks the question for you, to which you get what feels like a non-answer until you finish the film. It’s a love story wrapped up in pseudo-time travel and science fiction and beautifully delivered if you can understand it (if you haven’t seen the movie but want a starting point to grasp what’s going on, feel free to scroll to the very bottom of The Spoilers for a succinct explanation). It’s just a good movie.
Worth Checking Out (B)
Of course, after finishing Mr. Nobody I realize I’ve seen the theatrical version, not the director’s cut. Looking through what scenes were extended and added in the DC, it just appears that I’ve missed out on a lot of argyle sweater scenes. The gist of the movie is still the same. Here’s my take on that gist:
The spirits of unborn children frolic around Heaven before they get their memories wiped and go down to Earth to be born, but the Angel of Oblivion had a brain fart and skipped over Nemo’s spirit. Not having his memory wiped means he can see into the future as a human, a talent he uses as a teenager to scare away his mother’s suitors. When Sexy Adult Nemo suggests that more than one of the nine dimensions could be temporal, he is alluding to himself being able to manipulate time by seeing different futures. It’s as if everyone has a two-dimensional view of time, but Nemo can see in 3D.
Spirit Nemo (the child voiceover) lays out the premise of the movie when he says, “As long as you don’t choose, anything is possible.” If Nemo makes a choice, he can see only the future as it unfolds from that one decision. If he makes no choice, he can see myriad futures. So as nine-year-old Nemo stood on the train platform, forced to make an impossible decision by choosing between his parents, he was able to see all his possible futures. In one of the last shots of the film, we are taken back to that platform where everything unfolded, and we see Nemo run away from both his parents. This option was never explored before, but it’s the timeline that ultimately leads to his being the ‘last mortal’ on Earth. As 118-year-old Nemo pointed out, all the stories he told the reporter were in the child’s head. He never really met Anna, never had three kids with Elise, never had a pool and a mansion with Jean—but the stories were all real possibilities that he lived out in his head, emotions and all. So they were imagined, but, as he said, they were all of them right. It’s only when the universe began to crunch and time reversed that Nemo was able to return to that platform and finally make the choice that would put him and Anna together. It’s why he was laughing so much—he was thrilled to go and actually spend his life with her.
Old Nemo originally has confusion in how old he is and what year it is because he’s…well, really old, and can’t remember which of his memories were really lived or imagined. He’s stuck at 34 because that’s when he dies in Elise and Jean’s timelines, and when he is finally reunited with Anna for good.
It’s interesting when Anna pops up in Elise’s timeline as a character in Nemo’s story about going to Mars. At first I was confused, because it’s in Nemo’s own fictional story where she delivers the message of when the Big Crunch is going to occur. How can she be right about that if she isn’t even real? But I think this can relate (albeit a little sloppily) to Nemo’s special abilities. He has seen the future and knows the exact date himself, he just inserts the info into his story through another character, and when he recalls it a century later, he gets confused again and remembers it as something Anna told him, rather than something he had known all along. As for Anna being imagined in a timeline where they never met, could point to either another example of Old Nemo’s illness and confusion, or a confirmation of their powerful love for each other. He sees her even when he doesn’t know her.
Giving each of the girls a color was a clever way to keep track of their storylines throughout the movie (using the harmony of primary colors to make the audience *HAPPY*). Anna was red, the color of passion and love, and Elise was blue for sadness. Some people equate Jean’s yellow with wealth or greed, but I say it was jealousy. He danced with Jean because he was jealous of Stefano, and Jean was hurt and jealous that she was never the center of his world.
Why Adult Nemo has an American accent in two of the three main timelines when his 15-year-old self is still very British is beyond me.
The meat of this film explores the many different lives a nine-year-old boy could have had depending on his choice to live with his mother or father. The twist is that he never actually lived any of the lives.