Much like the lyrics for pop rock band The Script’s Science and Faith, it’s always been hard for love and science to find a common ground, but these filmmakers found a way to reconcile the conflict between the two by way of mindboggling stories and the pure power of fiction. If you’ve allowed yourself the pleasure of watching Oscar award-winning film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and got hooked on the timeless romance between Domnhall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams in About Time, then you’re sure to love the equally stunning movies on this list.
Mr. Nobody (2009)
Jared Leto stars in Jaco Van Dormael’s futuristic drama about multiple roads not taken but told. This philosophical, cinematographic masterpiece explores the life of Nemo Nobody, the last mortal human in 2092, and all the possibilities that could have come from the different decisions he’s made in his lifetime. It starts with a young Nemo on a train platform faced with the decision to either leave with his mother, or stay with his father. All the possible lives Nemo could have led is shown from there, distinguished by a lover from each life, making you then ask the ultimate question: which of them is the real one?
Another Earth (2011)
Ever wondered about the idea of parallel universes, how there could be another you out there, only more successful, or with divorced parents, or someone with a medicine degree to your fine arts diploma? This theory is exactly the backdrop for Mike Cahill and Brit Marling’s Another Earth. The title is a dead giveaway of the film’s premise but takes nothing from the rest of the story. The film centers on Rhoda Williams (Marling) who, on the day of the discovery of a second earth in the sky, is involved in a tragic car accident where she ends up responsible for the death of a mother and a child, leaving the father in a coma. 4 years later and newly out of prison, a more pensive Rhoda sets out to find the man whose family she unintentionally destroyed, all while entering a contest to win a coveted seat for the spaceship venturing out into Earth 2. The film is more drama than it is sci-fi, and the use of a second earth is mostly there to magnify Rhoda’s inner turmoil, but it’s a moving drama at that, with an ending that will leave you wide-eyed and wondering for days.
Ex Machina (2015)
After taking on a time traveler’s role, Domnhall Gleeson came back for another sci-fi hit with Ex Machina, a film driven by its meaningful silences, polished visuals, and a palpable musical score to keep you engaged. Gleeson plays Caleb Smith, a bored computer programmer who wins a contest to spend a week with his firm’s CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), at his private estate. Caleb is both stunned and excited when he finds out that he’s actually part of an experiment to test the consciousness of Ava (Alicia Vikander) an AI robot who ends up using her charms and wits to deceive both of the unsuspecting men in the facility. While the romantic aspect may be frustrating and deceptive, the movie, nevertheless, is a testament to the dangers of the human mind when it decides to play god, a timely sentiment for the modern era to mull over.
Happy Accidents (2000)
Written and directed by Brad Anderson, Happy Accidents is another time travelling flick, but with a twinge of comedy and romance from the point of view of the confused and skeptical non-traveler. Set in contemporary New York, the film follows lovelorn Ruby (Marisa Tomei) out to break away from her past as she finally finds herself in a loving, healthy relationship with Sam (Vincent D’Onofrio). The pair’s domestic bliss is put to the test when Sam begins to claim that he’s a man from the year 2470, only drawn to the past after he’s enamored by a photo of Ruby that he found from his time.
There’s just something about humans falling in love with robots that’s got Hollywood churning out AI movies one-by-one. Her is no exception to the genre but it thankfully has Joaquin Phoenix’s impeccable acting as melancholic Theodore, and Scarlett Johansson’s attractive, sensual voice, bringing Samantha to life, to help Spike Jonze’s film stand out from the rest. The story starts off with a heartbroken Theodore at the end of his marriage. Hoping to find some reprieve from his depressive state, he tries out a new operating system capable of developing an entity of its own, and slowly falls in love with Samantha, the sweet and sensitive voice of the program that turns his gloomy life around. –PB&JAM