Some movies aren’t great but still remain fascinating to watch. Marjorie Prime is in that category. It is an intriguing conversation about memory and identity. A sort of science fiction version of Still Alice, but on a broader canvas. Prime looks more at the memories themselves and how they are formed and influenced, how much of them are real and how much manufactured. Basically, how much of what you think you know and remember is really true and, frankly, does that even matter?
The main ensemble is a tight cast of Jon Hamm (Baby Driver), Lois Smith (Lady Bird), Geena Davis (In a World…), and Tim Robbins (Welcome to Me). The story unfolds in unexpected ways, and each of the characters has an arc unto themselves, though all part of the main superstructure that writer/director Michael Almereyda helps them navigate. The film does retain the sense of a stage performance from its roots as a play. It isn’t at all boxed in, but it is still somewhat presentational and with several long monologues. None of this is off-putting, or wasn’t to me, but it certainly sets a tone that forces you to consider the questions and not just quickly identify with any one of the characters or the story they have to tell.
Marjorie Prime is probably not a film for everyone. It is deliberately paced and demands you think about it afterwards. It also doesn’t quite come to a satisfying ending. It is an interesting ending, but it is well open to interpretation on many levels. If you like slightly challenging cinema with some good performances and a steady hand at the rudder, it definitely fills the bill.