Mr. Nobody (2009)

Alarm clock
In the year 2092, we meet Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto). He is the last mortal left after humans have been engineered to be immortal. He is dying and the doctors have put him in a reality show to learn his story. Although they are demanding a source of entertainment, he playfully compromises their understanding of history.

As a child, Nemo (Thomas Byrne) smiles at three girls sitting on a bench waiting for school. He is averse to making decisions and these girls fill three different stories as Nemo and the three of them mature. He develops parallel biographies as he gets married to each of them. Visually, they leave the church through different doors. Nemo’s lives go awry and we get lost within his tangled path through time.

In one life, he is passionately in love with a woman he cannot find. In another, he has a devoted wife that he doesn’t care about. In the third life, he has a wife who is desperately depressed and never available to receive his love. These lives start to fracture and crack when Nemo (Toby Regbo) is a teenager.

Nemo’s world is beautiful as he narrates the different lives. Mr. Nobody is happy to show the viewer a kaleidoscope of love and tragedy. The future interviewer of Nemo tries hypnosis to bring back Nemo’s real story, but each time the hypnotist says “remember,” the kaleidoscope shifts and the story changes. The cinematography uses colors to anchor the story to different paths through time.

For the proponents of linear time, Mr. Nobody is infuriating. Time loops and swerves as if it were a leaf in the breeze. The story unfolds as a labyrinth with stories inside of stories.

Perhaps there is no truth and the 118 year old man is playing the audience. Perhaps he revealed nothing important. He is the topic of a reality show that morbidly votes that he should be allowed to die. Mr. Nobody’s story leaves the observer puzzled and he ends up laughing at us all.

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