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After a global neurological epidemic, those who remain search for meaning and connection in a world without memory. Five interwoven stories each explore a different facet of life without memory in a future that has no past.

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Embers movie full length review - Could have been so much more

I could not help but keep thinking about the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel "100 Years of Solitude" and the insomnia plague that invaded the town of Macondo along with contagious amnesia that attacked many of Macondo's residents.

They would have to write notes like "this is a cow, you must milk it daily" and label the chairs and tables. I also kept waiting for Embers to take me to a similar place of magical wonder. It almost did but then the movie was over.

There were also many technical inconsistencies in the plot that, for a thought-provoking movie proved too much of a distraction for viewers' busy minds that are trying to absorb every detail on the screen and make something out of them. If Miranda and her father had been in the bunker for 9 years, why does everything outside have such a "recently abandoned" appearance? Is the whole thing an experiment? a hoax? Nobody is dirty, people are relatively neatly groomed (i.e. nobody has 9 years' worth of unkempt hair). Also, why do Miranda and her father speak Spanish if she was born in Singapore? Is she really who she thinks she is? Was the "self-check" a way to overcome the amnesia? a trick developed to help her be Miranda? was she really sick without her own knowledge? I mentally gave the movie the excuse that perhaps they were diplomats and moved on. But, after seeing the ending, it would have been so nice if the plot could have gone in any of all those other directions.

Perhaps I should mention that my father suffers from Alzheimer's, so lately I find myself looking for movies that play with the concept of memory and the memory of love. My mother recently told me the story of how the dog across the street "decided" to love my dad and how the dog would come over every morning, and how my dad would meet the dog every morning (sometimes "for the first time") and feel the happiness of new friendship. My mother would feel happy for my dad in those moments, even though my dad is very sick. She found the feelings conflicting. For those very personal reasons, the story of Ben/Mark and Katie in Embers was to me the only redeeming part of this movie. I kept hoping that they would stumble upon the child, then find a matching bracelet, and the child would love them... like my dad must do in his mind... but Embers never went there either.

True love is not something one decides to do, I believe it is a form of knowledge. We know that we love, we don't remember that we do. And that is the look I see on my father, even when he doesn't quite remember my name or thinks that I am my brother. If only the movie had gone there more. Then again, as some already hinted, we have seen that before in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Ironically, if I could forget reading that Marquez' novel, I might have liked this movie more.