“When you remember something, you remember the memory. You remember the last time you remembered it, not the source, so it’s always getting fuzzier, like a photocopy of a photocopy.”Tess
Marjorie Prime is a slow and thoughtful exploration of human memory through the vehicle of artificial intelligence. Short of fully duplicating a human brain, our ability to create AI representations of real people will always be limited by the memories we are able to supply but — even then — factually accurate memories may not reflect the story that an individual has made their personal history. The initial parallel between Marjorie’s Alzheimer’s and the AI Walter’s incomplete memories emerges through friendly exchanges. The shifting tone to more adversarial dialogue with AI creates a tenser atmosphere reminiscent of Ex Machina. However, Marjorie Prime‘s stage play roots are evident and it is easy to imagine it working better in that medium, notwithstanding some great performances, most notably from Jon Hamm and Tim Robbins. The pacing and deliberately untelegraphed time shifts will be tedious to many viewers, but patience is rewarded with some intriguing ideas and a pleasantly subtle closing scene.