The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Archive for the ‘Mr Nobody’ Category

Eye candy about lives that could have been

with 17 comments

Life is an endless stretch of choices. Sometimes I just get so get so tired of it. I can almost long back for the days when there was only one telephone company and electricity provider in Sweden and no one asked you to choose how your retirement funds should be placed, because the government did it for you.

We’re all facing the small choices at the coffee machine in the morning. “Is this a Latte day, a Cappuccino day or a simple “With milk day?” And we’re all facing the big choices. “Am I married to the right guy? Is it too late to change to new profession?” And there’s no escape. You have to push a button at the coffee machine eventually. And even if we postpone major, hard decisions, that is just self delusion. Not choosing as a choice as well.

This can be somewhat scary to think about. Almost paralyzing, at least if you’re a teenager with a newborn fascination with Jean-Paul Sartre.

We choose and choose and choose and what if we make the wrong choices? What could my life have been like if I only had or hadn’t…? While I try as much as anyone else to live in the present, not bothering too much about what’s been and what possibly has been lost, I would lie if I said that I never ever gave those things a thought.

Parallel universes
In this perspective it has always given me a bit of comfort to think about the idea of parallel universes. . Our choices don’t rule out anything. Side by side with our universe, there’s another one, where I chose differently. I may not have used my full potential in life, but there’s an alternative world where there is another Jessica who has. Even if we can only speculate about each other and never communicate, the idea that she exists is kind of cool. Equally I can think about all those sad Jessicas in other parallel universes. They did way worse decisions than I have done in this version of my life, and now they’re suffering from the consequences. Poor creatures.

Obviously I’m not the only one to ponder upon such things. There are several movies (Sliding Doors , Run Lola, Run and Blind Chance) which show how a small event – by choice or by accident – can have a big impact on our lives, since one thing leads to another in completely different directions.

But just because there already are movies dealing with the topic, it doesn’t that there isn’t room for more, providing that they add something new to the table. And that is certainly something you can say about Mr Nobody.

I would hesitate to call it a science fiction film, since so much of it takes place in our time. But it takes off in the year 2092, when everyone in mankind has acquired eternal life, apart from the last living “normal” person, Nemo, who at the age of 118 looks back at his life. Or rather at his many lives that he could have – or maybe has – lived – following different choices.

The movie jumps back and forward in different timelines and I bet that if you tried to draw it on a paper, it would be about as confusing as the one in Primer. But in this case it didn’t lessen my enjoyment. I felt no need to follow all the details or know exactly what everything meant. At the core it was a bittersweet story about young love with complications and about family life under different circumstances and about how life not always turns out the way you wanted it to.

Eye candy
I can’t write about this movie without mentioning the eye candy, and I’m not only referring to Jared Leto, who plays Nemo (and does it well). It’s also about the visuals, which are creative, lavish and even a bit extravagant. And so they should be with an estimated budget at 47 million dollars, if we’re to believe IMDb. According to the same resource the ticket sales for this movie have been very, very modest, far from covering the production. But then it’s mainly been showed at film festivals over the world, which obviously is a very limited audience.

My hope is that my review of this one will be enough to convince a few more to see it. Because it’s wonderful. Watching this movie made me silly happy. It did what movies do best – brought me to a world where anything can happen.

And even if you’ll end up not watching it in this world – you can always comfort yourself with the thought that there is a parallel universe where you will.

Mr. Nobody (Jaco van Dormael, 2009) My rating: 4,5/5

Written by Jessica

November 3, 2011 at 1:00 am

Posted in Mr Nobody