In the year 2092, one hundred eighteen year old Nemo is recounting his life story to a reporter. He is less than clear, often times thinking that he is only thirty-four years of age. But his story becomes more confusing after he does focus on the fact of his current real age. He tells of his life at three primary points in his life: at age nine (when his parents divorced), age sixteen and age thirty-four. The confusing aspect of the story is that he tells of alternate life paths, often changing course with the flick of a decision at each of those ages.
One life path has him ultimately married to Elise, a depressed woman who never got over the unrequited love she had for a guy named Stefano when she was a teenager and who asked Nemo to swear that when she died he would sprinkle her ashes on Mars. A second life path has him married to Jean. Their life is one of luxury but one also of utter boredom. And a third life path has him in a torrid romance with his step-sister Anna, the two who, as adults, would search for each other after having been torn apart as teenagers. These life paths also intersect, with the three women sometimes entering the alternate life in some other aspect. Are any of these lives real or are they all a figment of his imagination? (source: imdb.com / written by Huggo)
This is a curious movie.
And I am not necessarily referring to its multi-strand Sliding Doors-esque narrative which has me as desperate to experience as a cat toying with that which might kill it.
No, the truly intriguing thing about Mr. Nobody, directed by Jaco Van Dormeal and starring Jared Leto as Nemo, is that it was made way back in 2009, premiered at the Venice Film Festival that same year where it won both the Biografilm and Golden Osella Awards that same year, did big business in Belgium on its release in 2010 …
… and is only just now reaching a much wider audience.
Perhaps it was caught in distribution limbo or some sort of contractual dispute.
Who knows really? (OK probably the director, some of the stars, their lawyers but really that kind of takes away from the dramatic intent of the question I think.)
Whatever delayed it, it is here at last (although not as yet in Australia which is a pity) releasing in USA via Video on Demand and iTunes on 26 September, and limited cinema release on 1 November.
It looks like a truly enchanting movie.
It captures that sense that we all have of “What if?”, the thought that if we had chosen X instead of Y that our lives might have turned out totally differently.
The funny thing about indulging that kind of wondering too much is that you risk disppearing down the rabbit hole since there is no real firm answer to the question.
Who knows if life might have changed for the better or the worse if we had chosen another course?
Certainly Mr. Nobody, which presents us with multiple divergent story lines to consider, gives us food for thought on that score.
It presents us with a whole world of possibilities – which by all accounts makes the film a challenge to watch since you really have to pay attention – all of which could quite easily have happened, or all of which could simply be figments of Nemo’s muddled imagination.
Whatever they are, none of the outcomes are perfect, all flawed in their own special ways and a reminder that life, whatever we choose, is an interesting journey in which all our decisions are valid, even if imperfect.
I am hoping Mr. Nobody makes it to theatres in Australia at some time because it looks like the perfect to lose yourself in at the cinema, with Nemo’s life writ large in front of you.
And maybe, just maybe, think a little … or a lot.