Jon tells Walter Prime a family secret that must never be repeated to Marjorie: she and Walter had a son named Damian who committed suicide forty years earlier and, before doing so, killed the beloved family dog Toni II (a black French poodle who looked just like the family's previous dog, Toni) to take her with him. As their interactions deepen, the family begins to develop diverging recounts of their lives, drawn into the … I slightly knew the writer-director Michael Almereyda in college and have come to know him better in the subsequent 30-ish years. His documentaries "This So-Called Disaster" about Sam Shepard and "William Eggleston In The Real World" are revelatory. Haunting 'Marjorie Prime' Is Suffused With Forgiveness And Despair The new film is set in the near future, when people can purchase holographic versions of … Sometime later, Jon is talking to Tess in the living room. Or rather, a walking, talking, smiling and very helpful image of her husband as he was several decades before. It opens with a gentle conversation between Lois Smith's 85-year-old Marjorie and Jon Hamm as her husband Walter, who died 15 years earlier. If so, it’s hardly a fatal flaw in a movie that leaves viewers with so much to ponder. Copyright © 2017 NPR. It's transcendentally woebegone. With Geena Davis, Hannah Gross, Jon Hamm, India Reed Kotis. Around the year 2050, 85-year-old Marjorie (Smith) is experiencing the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Marjorie (Lois Smith), pleasant and voluble, obviously enjoys conversing with dapper Walter (Jon Hamm), and together they explore the subject of her past, recalling, for example, two dogs named Toni the family once owned. He appears to desire to know the reason why he couldn't tell his children how much he loved them. This choice disturbs Tess as she does not trust the system's functionalities, so she does not talk to Walter's hologram. They end up saying things to primes that they couldn't say to the people on whom the primes were modeled. And Marjorie's daughter and son-in-law have bought her one. Chief among the film’s pleasures is watching the exemplary work of the actors who embody those people. At the movie's heart is a paradox that's rather stunning. Although it evidently takes place sometime in the future, there’s virtually nothing futuristic about it; it could be set right now. [failed verification], Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, "Tim Robbins Joins Jon Hamm in 'Marjorie Prime' (Exclusive)", "First Look: Jon Hamm, Tim Robbins Have Familial Face-Off in 'Marjorie Prime' (Exclusive Photo)", "Sundance 2017: Robert Redford, New Rashida Jones Netflix Series, 'Rebel In The Rye' & More On Premiere, Docu, Midnight & Kids Slates", "A New Film About Marie Curie by Marie Noëlle", "2018 Independent Spirit Award Nominations Revealed", "2018 Independent Spirit Awards: Winners List", "Here Are The 44th Annual Saturn Awards Nominations", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marjorie_Prime&oldid=974201405, Articles with failed verification from August 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 21 August 2020, at 16:52. But by the time, we meet Walter Prime, he's absorbed the key information about Marjorie's life. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. "Marjorie Prime" might be my favorite of his films. Eighty-six-year-old Marjorie spends her final, ailing days with a computerized version of her deceased husband. His 2001 "Hamlet" with Ethan Hawke and Kyle MacLachlin is a truly cinematic rethinking of that masterpiece. Jon brings Tess' granddaughter to meet Tess Prime because she never met the real Tess while she was alive due to Tess' estrangement from her daughter. He has written for The New York Times, Variety, Film Comment, The Village Voice, Interview, Cineaste and other publications. Almereyda is also very adroit in the staging and direction of the story. SMITH: (As Marjorie) I'm having a good day. Marjorie Prime received critical acclaim. Accuracy and availability may vary. Tess finds a Bible in the living room table and accuses Julie (who had given it to Marjorie) of taking advantage of Marjorie's condition to religiously manipulate her (since Marjorie has always been an atheist), which prompts Marjorie to become upset and urinate herself. Walter Prime looks so young, like Jon Hamm, because Marjorie asked for one at the age he was when they were married. This leads Tess to realize she has chosen the aged version of her mother because this is the version she still has things she needs to say to. Marjorie has chosen a younger version of her late husband Walter (Hamm), who died fifteen years ago. In the house's living room, Walter Prime, Marjorie Prime, and Tess Prime talk about the old days, reliving old memories. Thanks to artificial intelligence, Prime learns and fits into Marjorie’s family, keeping her company and helping her, while she forgets, to remember. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. But Walter, in addition to being a very charming and well-spoken guy, is also a hologram. Here's how it works. But it's heartbreaking that as she grows closer to Walter Prime, she moves farther apart from her daughter, Tessa, played by Geena Davis. But the bereaved don't use them just as vehicles for lovely pipe dreams. Artificial Intelligence” but to me it’s singular in being the science-fiction movie that feels the least like a sci-fi movie. It is soon revealed that Marjorie has died and Tess is talking to a Prime version of Marjorie; Jon recommended the Prime Program for his wife to help her cope with the death of her mother. SMITH: (As Marjorie) The girl did them - Julie. It largely takes place in a single location, and it leaves alone the distinctively stagey cadences of the dialogue. She played Marjorie in both the Los Angeles and off-Broadway versions of the play, and here brings her deep knowledge of the role to luminous, assured life with a note-perfect performance. Meanwhile, in a flashback to when Walter was alive, he and Marjorie are sitting on the couch watching the nightly news, which shows “The Gates”, an art exhibit by Christo and Jean-Claude that ran in Central Park during February 2005. Marjorie Prime is a wonderful example of a stage-to-screen adaptation. "Marjorie Prime" is not the kind of movie in which we learn the background of prime technology, who invented it and so on. Jon Hamm looks so trim and open and receptive that the awkwardness between him and Marjorie fades. Adapted from the acclaimed 2014 play by Jordan Harrison, “Marjorie Prime” has a gentle, probing Chekhovian feel, and a deliberate dramatic approach that invites us to look at those aforementioned issues from various angles before coming to our own conclusions about them. Completing the movie's quartet is Tim Robbins, very fine as Tessa's husband Jon, a desperate do-gooder who can't keep his wife's terrible childhood memories from flooding back. The holograms are called primes. Marjorie, an elderly Alzheimer patient (Ivana Monti), is flanked in daily life by a Prime, a robot she has decided to give the appearance of her husband Walter, who died years earlier. He has written for, The Dark Side of Harrison Ford: On the Roles That Led to What Lies Beneath, Why The Thing is One of the Most Effective Horror Movies Ever Made, AFI Fest 2020 Closes Out a Season of Reimagined Online Film Festivals. A woman in her mid-80s and a handsome man who appears to be in his 40s sit across a table and talk for a good while. Tess is troubled by various things in her past and present, including Walter Prime. “Marjorie Prime” is so beautifully and consistently focused on the human that I wanted to introduce Marjorie and Walter as people with a rich and complex relationship. Primes seem to have been invented to give comfort and companionship to the bereaved. SMITH: (As Marjorie) Maybe it's not bad if I feel that way. The website's critical consensus reads, "Intimate in setting yet ambitious in scope, the beautifully acted Marjorie Prime poses thought-provoking questions about memory, humanity, and love. The first scene of Michael Almereyda’s graceful, enthralling chamber drama “Marjorie Prime” takes place in the well-appointed living room of a Long Island beach house. A service that provides holographic recreations of deceased loved ones allows a woman to come face-to-face with the younger version of her late husband. Still, the last act struck me as more cerebrally intriguing than emotionally satisfying. It's sci-fi as a means of exploring our inner lives, the way Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry do in "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind." Film critic David Edelstein has this review. 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.
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