Choices (A Review of the Movie “Mr. Nobody”)

How often do you have moments of introspection?

I think the majority of people existing in America today, tend to broad stroke the canvas when it comes to living their lives.

The structure within our society has molded us to constantly work, chase promotions, find a spouse, buy a house, vacation a little.

Die.

All while having a shark’s mentality attaining these milestones.

But when do you stop for a second, and examine if your choices were worth it?

Did you make the best maneuvers? Did you create the best life possible for yourself?

That’s exactly what the premise of “Mr. Nobody” is.

A man by the name of Nemo Nobody, awakens in a distance future where he is the last mortal left at the ripe age of 118; science has developed a way to renew cells, thus no one from the populous ever dies.

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His story has created quite the buzz and he is being interviewed regarding the life he’s lived from the beginning, all the way to his final words.

As always, this is all I can give as far as an executive summary of the movie, anything beyond this will be laced with spoilers so if the plot interests you thus far, please check this out on Netflix.

The Origin

I love the origin story of how babies eventually make it to the world of the living.

In this movie, before you are sent to Earth as a baby, you already know everything.

Angels place their fingers on the child’s lips, and they forget everything . . .coming to the world oblivious.

The movie begins to unwind in a series of life decisions made by Nemo. The focal point of all these decisions, comes at a young age, when Nemo parents are divorced.

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Nemo’s parents (who make a childish decision themselves) leave it to Nemo to decide who he wants to stay with.

Nemo’s mother boards a train, off to start life anew; his father awaiting Nemo’s decision at the train station.

The movie can get pretty crazy with the flashbacks and memories, so I’ll divide the paths by Mom timelines and Dad timelines.

The Mom Timelines

In these timelines, Nemo chases after the train his mother has boarded, and manages to board.

The entirety of this these life paths revolve around Anna, the love of his life.

The film explores every path with Anna, where Nemo tells her he doesn’t swim with idiots as children hence they never make it a couple, to where Nemo marries her, and he eventually runs off the road to a watery grave.

The main path the film covers is where Anna and Nemo are lovers, but unbeknownst to them, their parents are already dating and eventually marry.

They use the opportunity to deepen their romance but at the same time tears Nemo’s mom and step-fathers marriage apart.

Nemo grows up to be a pool maintenance man, unkempt and carefree, he spends his whole life searching for Anna, to rekindle their love once again.

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The Dad Timelines

The father-derived paths are a little more interesting.

His father seems to develop a form of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

He’s bonded to his typewriter in his spare time, having decided to become an author, and seems to allow his emotions to alter his future life decisions.

Nemo becomes enamored with a young girl name Alice, who is suffers from bi-polar depression.

The paths from Alice led Nemo to kill himself after finding out Alice still wants her old boyfriend, to eventually marrying her (and her bi-polar depression) and becoming so depressed himself he assumes the identity of a famous person, only to be assassinated in a bathtub.

The path also deviates to one where he becomes so motivated from the heartbreak from Alice, he marries another woman named June, becomes insanely rich, only to become depressed and attempt to drown himself.

Film Title: Mr Nobody

The funny thing about this timeline is, Anna is often in the background of these paths.

The Psychology of Choices and Existentialism

The twist of the movie, which is plainly evident yet gets lost in the confusing paths, is Nemo Nobody is not recollecting on memories of old.

He’s peering into the future.

Viewing every potential path available to him.

The movie does an excellent job examining the psychology of choices.

At the beginning of the movie, Nemo as a child explains choices through the analogy of mixing mashed potatoes and sauce, once mixed, it cannot be undone.

“You cannot go back, that’s why you have to choose. As long as you don’t choose, everything is possible.”

The apex of the movie comes when the reporter, bewildered from having listened to all of Nemo life events, asks which life choices were the correct ones?

To which Nemo responds: “Each of these lives is the right one. Each path is the right path. Everything could have been anything else, and it would have just as much meaning.”

There are so many conversations that can deviate from these few phrases.  The philosophy that every individual has the free will to do whatever vs the thought that your environment dictates your ultimate trajectory.

But Nemo’s words have a sense of simplicity to them, given what the audience feels as we see him experience his potential paths.

No matter what path Nemo took, that was a sense of pleasure.

A sense of pain.

A sense of regret.

A sense of fulfilment.

But every path had MEANING. None of the paths were perfect, all of them leading to the finality that death brings.

The other concept this moving does a wonderful job of doing is exploring existentialism.

Existentialism explores the analysis of an individual’s existence within the universe, and the actions one takes to justify existing.

Let’s go back to the beginning of the movie.

When Nemo was a child, he reflects that “everything we see, exists.” But he couldn’t see himself.

At point does a person know they exist?

At what point does a person understand the gravity of their choices, and that it makes them who they are?

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We all tend to think of ourselves as main characters in our own little world, but what if we haven’t discovered what true existence really is?

Conclusion

I really wish I could have seen this movie when in premiered in 2009. Which just so happens to be the year I graduated college.

There are so many concepts to be pulled from this movie.

Nemo has a thought as a child, wondering why we can’t see into the future, like we can into the past?

I think everyone has the clairvoyance to do so, we just choose not to.

There are some people who I’ve come across in life, who choose to paint the canvas of their life, with the smallest of paint brushes.

They take their time. They are meticulous. Methodical. They understand from an early age that every choice they make on their own free will shapes their existence.

How far ahead do we plan our moves?

How detailed can you see in the future, due to the choice in degree, choice in partner, choice in friends and lifestyle?

How do you maintain that level of thought and care in your life, yet acknowledge that no matter what happens, your life has meaning despite the outcomes?

I felt this was the perfect way to end 2018, as we enter 2019.

It’s up to you to understand the value of your existence, through the choices you make . . . or choose not to make.

Weather Your Storm, Maintain Inner Reign –E

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