I first watched The Matrix when I was about ten years old; I didn’t get much sleep that night. It was hard not to think about this thought that everything in our world is just an illusion. It was an idea that captivated me. Now twenty-five years old, I must admit that Mr. Nobody had the exact same effect on me.
We all face choices every day. We’ve all had the thought cross our head, what if we had decided to go left instead of right, how would our lives be different today? The core of Mr. Nobody is this thought about how decisions shape our lives. The film chronicles various parallel universes where the character of Nemo finds himself on very different paths based on the decisions he makes.
One of the best parts of the film is an occurrence where Nemo makes a small gesture that has a huge impact on his life. Nemo makes a snarky remark as a teenager to the girl who in other realities is the love of his life. This leads to a series of events where he runs into her at the train station years later and finds they are basically strangers. This scene captured a very real human experience – the very scary reality that the first impressions we have on people can have an enormous impact on our lives.
The core of the film revolves around one choice Nemo must make at the young age of nine. His mother and father decide to split up and he must decide to stay with his father in the UK or move with his mother to Montreal. It is at that moment that the child version of Nemo is the architect of his life. The film explores what Nemo’s life would be like if he married three different women. In the case of each decision, the outcomes produced were all nearly impossible to predict, leading the audience to the troubling truth that even with all of the facts, there is no way of truly knowing which is the right path to take.
In a modern day and age we like to think about how privileged we are to have so much in abundance. Jean-Paul Sartre once said “we are condemned to be free.” While common-sense states that more freedom and more choice must necessarily be a good thing, there is also an emotion associated with such luxuries – anxiety. In a world where choice is available to us, if we decide wrongly we also must take the burden of responsibility on ourselves. In my own life, as a twenty-five year old, I have been faced with such choices and the burden of deciding has at times been overwhelming. Mr. Nobody was such a special movie to me because it brought these issues to light in a film that managed to be visually specular and emotionally compelling. 9.5 out of 10.