Film Review: Marjorie Prime

1 in 6 people over the age of 60 in the UK have dementia and someone develops the disease every 3 minutes. Last year, 18% of the British population was over 65. This figure is set to rise sharply, largely due to advancements in medical science and the lack of major wars or epidemics. We have a health service and system which is badly placed to deal with the pressure this creates. As a nation, we’ve been terribly slow at adapting to this problem. In his film Marjorie Prime, Michael Almereyda envisages a novel way of coping.

86-year old Marjorie (Lois Smith) is suffering from dementia and living with Walter Prime (Jon Hamm), a hologram of a younger version of her recently deceased husband. Primes rely on interactions with family members in order to build a picture of the person they’re portraying’s life. Marjorie’s daughter (Geena Davis) is reluctant at first, but her husband (Tim Robbins) works with Walter to build-up a complex set of memories. Walter then refines these through interactions with Marjorie, but whose memories are correct and are some things easier left forgotten?

Lois Smith reprises the role she played in Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, in this complex, intelligent and warm-hearted family drama. Whilst it’s thought-provoking, cleverly made and superbly acted (Davis is the stand-out performance), it does at times struggle to throw off its theatrical origins. However, Marjorie Prime is a perceptive and bright look at memory, family and those invisible bonds which hold us together.

Marjorie Prime is in select cinemas and on-demand from 10 November.

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