Mr. Nobody
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Time travel, the Butterfly Effect, the Big Bang Theoryóin his 2009 cult film, Mr. Nobody, Belgian writer-director Jaco Van Dormael weaves these concepts into a story about the infinite possibilities stemming from every single choice we makeÖor donít.

Itís 2092, and Mr. Nemo Nobody is 118 years oldóthe last living mortal on Earth. In this future world, people are kept alive forever as quasi-mortals, thanks to continuous stem-cell infusions from their own personal donor pigs. But Mr. Nobody is a mystery; no one knows who he is, so a therapist and a journalist interview him to figure it out. His stories, however, are full of contradictions.

He claims to have lived with both of his divorced parents at the same timeóhis mother in Canada and his father in England. He talks about being married to three different women at once. In some memories, he has children; in others, he has none. He also says that he has the ability to see the future. It all stems, he says, from the moment when, at the age of 9, he was standing at a train station, forced to choose between living with his mother or his father. Itís an impossible situation for the child. From that moment, his life plays out in many different ways. But which of his stories are true?

Van Dormaelís film is non-linear, comprised of so many intercut pieces that itís impossible to track them allóbut youíre really not meant to. Instead, itís impressionism, as we experience Nemoís surfacing memories from ages 9, 15, and 34, each piece painstakingly detailed.

Each of his three romances is identified by a different color, theme, and music. There isnít one line of fluff or extraneous detail anywhere, so you wonít want to wander off to make a sandwich. That much content, however, creates the main weakness of the film: it takes itself so seriously that it overkills the message. A 2-1/2-hour runtime is too long for that much confusing conjecture.

Nevertheless, those who appreciated Jared Letoís Oscar-winning role as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club can see his talent emerging here as he portrays nuanced, alternative versions of the same character. He especially shines as the charming, confounding elderly Mr. Nobody. In addition, Sarah Polley gives an intense and tragic performance as his unstable second wife, Elise, while Toby Regbo and Juno Temple are standouts as the passionate teen lovers, Nemo and Anna.

Whether or not you buy into the metaphysics, Mr. Nobody raises some intriguing questions. The film manages to be both mind-bending and deeply touchingóitís an amazing ride. So consider inviting some friends over to see something completely different (and incidentally, keep an eye out for a Monty Python reference). Youíll have lots to talk about when the credits roll.

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