Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D’Arcy
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Fantasy drama written and directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer adapted from the novel by David Mitchell. Cloud Atlas (2012) is an exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present, and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. Spanning six different stories in six different time periods and genres that are intertwined, 1849 – historical narrative, 1936 – drama/romance, 1973 – mystery/action, 2012 – dark comedy, 2144 – sci-fi, and 2321 and 2346 – post-apocalyptic.
Our Favorite Quotes:'Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we're bound to others, past and present. And by each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future.' - Sonmi-451 (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Zachry: [2346, sat beside a fire] Lonesome night. And babbits bawling, the wind biting the bone. Wind like this, full of voices. Ancestry howling at you, yibbering stories. Aall voices tied up into one. One voice differing. One voice whispering out there, spying from the dark, that fangy devil, Old Georgie hisself. Now you ear up close and I’ll yarn you about the first time we met eye to eye.
Timothy Cavendish: [2012, typing] While my extensive experience as an editor has led me to a disdain for flashbacks and flash forwards, and all such tricksy gimmicks, I believe that if you, dear reader, can extend your patience for just a moment, you will find there is a method to this tale of madness.
Robert Frobisher:  My Dearest Sixsmith, I shot myself through the roof of my mouth this morning, with Vyvyan Ayrs’ Luger. A true suicide is a paced disciplined certainty. People pontificate, “Suicide is a coward’s act.” Couldn’t be further from the truth. Suicide takes tremendous courage. Don’t let them say I killed myself for love. Had my infatuations, but we both know in our hearts who is the sole love of my short, bright life.
Timothy Cavendish: [2012, to himself] I was Dermot Hoggins publisher. Not his shrink, or his astrologer. And the ruddy, bloody truth is, I had no idea what the man was going to to do that night.
'Truth is singular. Its versions are mistruths.' - Sonmi-451 (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Archivist:  Remember this is not an interrogation or a trial. Your version of the truth is all that matters.
Sonmi-451: Truth is singular. Its versions are mistruths.
Adam Ewing:  Let’s see, it is an inquiry concerning God’s will and the nature of men.
Madame Horrox: And what does he have to say about the nature of women?
Adam Ewing: I’m afraid that’s a subject he prefers to pass by in silence.
Madame Horrox: He wouldn’t be the first.
Rev. Giles Horrox: Prey, Mr. Ewing, continue.
Adam Ewing: Well, the question he does pose is, if God created the world, how do we know what things we can change and what things must remain sacred and inviolable?
Adam Ewing: What happened?
Dr. Henry Goose: It is as I suspected. Gusano Coco Cervello. Better known as the Polynesian Worm. I once saw a man’s brain after the worm had finished with him. Maggoty cauliflower. Ugh. But have no fear, this particular devil and I are well acquainted.
Adam Ewing: I don’t know what I would have done had our paths not crossed.
Dr. Henry Goose: Well, for starters, you would have died.
Adam Ewing: I shall find a way to repay you.
Dr. Henry Goose: Oh, no. Unnecessary, I assure you. I am a doctor, Adam. A tiger cannot change its stripes.
'The minute you stop trying to find it, it'll find you.' - Robert Frobisher (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Robert Frobisher:  Sixsmith, I do hope you will be able to find it in your heart to forgive me. Hated leaving you like that. Wasn’t the goodbye I had in mind. By the time you read this, I will be on my way to Edinburgh, on my way to fame and fortune. I know you haven’t heard of him, but trust me, Vyvyan Ayrs is one of the musical greats, Sixsmith. The tragedy is that he hasn’t produced any new work in year due to illness. My scheme is to persuade him to hire me as his amanuensis and aid him in the creation of a masterpiece, before shooting him up through the musical firmament, eventually obliging Pater to admit that, yes, the son he disinherited, is none other than Robert Frobisher, the greatest British composer of his time. I know, Sixsmith, you groan and shake your head, but you smile too, which is why I love you. P.S. Thanks for the waistcoat. I needed something of yours to keep me company.
Vyvyan Ayrs: [to Frobisher, referring to the small statue on Ayrs’s piano] St. George and the Dragon. Reminds me that composing is a crusade. Sometimes you slay the dragon, sometimes the dragon saves you.
Vyvyan Ayrs: [as Forbisher plays the Ayrs’s notes on the piano] Stop! Please! You’re hurting me! You must have misheard me. I said I have a melody, not a malady!
Jocasta Ayrs: [enters the room] Vyvyan?
Vyvyan Ayrs: Jocasta! Deliver me.
Jocasta Ayrs: What’s going on in here?
Vyvyan Ayrs: An exercise in futility.
Jocasta Ayrs: Should I be introduced?
Vyvyan Ayrs: There’s really no point. The boy is useful as the clap. Fortunately, he’ll be much easier to get rid of.
Rufus Sixsmith: [1973, notices Luisa has the same birthmark that Frobisher had] That’s a very peculiar birthmark.
Luisa Rey: Yeah. My little comet. My mother swore it was cancer, she wanted me to get it removed. But, I don’t know, I kind of like it.
Rufus Sixsmith: I knew someone who had a birthmark that was similar to that.
Luisa Rey: Really? Who was it?
Rufus Sixsmith: Someone I cared about very much.
'But what is an ocean but a multitude of drops?' - Adam Ewing (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Timothy Cavendish:  Twas the night of the Lemon Prizes, and amidst all that forced jollity, I recall a moment of introspection. Why? Why would anyone in their right mind choose to be a publisher. This was the precise moment that Dermot found me.
Timothy Cavendish: Never forget, Herman Melville, writes a ripping yarn, about a big white whale which is summarily dismissed, and yet today, it is lugged around in the backpacks of every serious student of literature in the world.
Dermot Hoggins: I don’t give a f*** what happens when I’m dead. I want people to buy me book now!
Timothy Cavendish: Well, as your publisher, obviously, nothing would make me happier. But sadly, for whatever reason, Knuckle Sandwich, has yet to connect to its audience.
Dermot Hoggins: “Mr. Hoggins should apologize to the trees, felled for the making of his bloated autobio novel. Four hundred vainglorious pages expire in an ending that is flat and inane beyond belief.”
Timothy Cavendish: Steady now, Dermot. What is a critic but one who reads quickly, arrogantly, but never wisely?
Timothy Cavendish: My thought? If I am honest, I admit that the obvious emotions, like shock and horror, flew as Finch had, here and gone. While deep down, I experienced a nascent sense of a silver lining to this most tragic turn. Overnight, Dermot “Dusty” Hoggins became a cult hero to the common man. Grabbed the critic and sent him plummeting to his death. And Knuckle Sandwich shifted ninety thousand copies in less than two months. I was for the briefest of moments, Cinderella, and all memory of past misfortune receded in the rearview mirror of my dream come true.
'All boundaries are conventions, waiting to be transcended. One may transcend any convention, if only one can first conceive of doing so.' - Robert Frobisher (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Yoona-939: [2144, repeating the line from the movie as she attends to escape] I will not be subjected to criminal abuse.
Zachry:  Nay, this life of rotted luck ain’t no smileysome yarnie. And rares time I ever ‘fesst he secret of Sloosha’s Hallow. Adam, my bro’by law, and his son and me be trekking back from Honokaa Market. Was Adam’s custom to kowtow his ancestry with offerings and honorings. Suddenwise, that fangy devil’s eyes, I felt them.
Zachry:  Why words slink’n slide off’a tongue when we need them most? If my tongue been more bold, could I’a stop all the diresomes about to happen?
Zachry: No one queried what “fusion engine” was because they didn’t want to look stupid in front of the gathering. True really was, Meronym answer the questions, but no answer ever quenched your curio. All that answering done was teached everyone to not trust her. Nay, not a flea.
'To be is to be perceived. And so to know thyself is only possible through the eyes of the other.' - Sonmi-451 (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Old Georgie: [to Zachry, referring to Meronym] She a sly one. Scheming and worming herself in. Watch her, watch her close. She’s got secrets.
Old Georgie: “Bridge a’broken’, hide below. Hands’a’bleedin’, can’t let go. Enemy’s sleeping, don’t slit that throat.”
Hae-Joo Chang:  There’s no reason to hide. I know you are, Sonmi-451. My name is Hae-Joo Chang.
Sonmi-451: What has happened to Seer Rhee?
Hae-Joo Chang: Soap overdose. It is unfortunate that it had to happen with everything going so well, because now it is probable that the Enforcers and the DNA sniffers will find out about you. And if they do, if they realize your connection to Yoona-939, you will be excised. But you have a choice. You can remain here and risk being discovered, or you can come with me.
Adam Ewing:  Friday the 15th. We made sail with the morning tide. Mr. Boerhaave had my cabin changed. I have been quarantined to a storeroom away from the other passengers and crew. Henry argued in vain that the Polynesian Worm is not contagious. Hardly matters. All I want to do now is return home and unburden myself of this responsibility.
'The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds that go on apportioning themselves throughout all time.' - Sonmi-451 (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Robert Frobisher:  My Dear Sixsmith, I am in desperate need of your help. After my last letter, I’m sure you’re rushing to pack your bags, but you needn’t, really. Unless, of course, you wish to witness the rebirth of Robert Frobisher. Is it not miraculous how one’s fortune can turn so quickly, so completely? One moment, leaping from a hotel window, the next, gainfully employed by one of the world’s greatest living composers. My only problem is that I accidentally got hooked on a journal, written in 1849, by a dying lawyer during the voyage from the Pacific Isle to San Francisco. To my great annoyance, the pages cease mid-sentence. Half the book is missing. It’s completely killing me. Could you be a mensch, and when you’re next foraging at Otto’s Books, make an inquiry? A half-finished book, is after all, a half-finished love affair.
Timothy Cavendish: [2012, over phone] I need fifty thousand pounds! Not two thousand pounds! Fifty thousand!
Accountant: I can go through it again, Mr. Cavendish, but the total’s right. Two thousand three hundred and forty three pounds and sixteen pence.
Timothy Cavendish: How is this possible?! The ruddy money was pouring in!
Accountant: Debt mostly, Mr. Cavendish. Solvency has its drawbacks.
Timothy Cavendish: In the darkness, I suddenly saw the light. Blood has always trumped water. If the Hogginses brutes wanted to turn this into a family affair, they’d find the Cavendish clan more than ready for the task at hand.
Denholme Cavendish: Oh, Satan’s gonads, not again! Look, just bugger off and leave us in peace. I’m only going to ask you nicely once.
Timothy Cavendish: It’s good to see you, Denny.
Denholme Cavendish: I’m not lending you a ruddy farthing until you pay back the last lot. Why should I be forever giving you handouts?
'Forces that often remake time and space, that can shape and alter who we imagine ourself to be, begin long before we are born, and continue after we perish.' - Isaac Sachs (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Timothy Cavendish: Denny, I’ve had a minor run-in with the wrong sort. If I don’t get my hands on sixty thousand pounds, I’m going to take an awful beating.
Denholme Cavendish: Well, get them to video it for us, would you? Now, f*** off!
Timothy Cavendish: I’m not joking, Denholme.
Denholme Cavendish: Why is this my problem?
Timothy Cavendish: Because we’re brothers! Don’t you have a conscience?
Denholme Cavendish: Couple of my special little pills, and a G and T should set me right.
Timothy Cavendish: Denny, help. Please.
Adam Ewing:  I have begun to fear I may never hold my beloved Tilda in my arms again. The Parasite writhes at night, igniting spasms of pain, while visions and voices, obscene and monstrous, haunt me.
Robert Frobisher:  My Dear Sixsmith, you alone could understand how I’m feeling right now. Today, Ayrs and I presented our first collaboration to Tadeusz Kesselring, Ayrs’s favorite conductor, who arrived from Berlin. It’s called Eternal Recurrence, wish you could hear it. It’s the most accomplished tone poem I know of written since the war. And I tell you, Sixsmith, that more than a few of its best ideas are mine.
Robert Frobisher: Dinner of pheasant and Bordeaux, rich as buttercream. How I loved to listen men of distinguished lives sing of past follies and glories. The only broken note in the entire evening was Ayrs’s wife, Jocasta, excusing herself early. I sensed a buried bone. Later I asked Ayrs about it, he said Kesselring had introduced Jocasta to him. I cried. “Had Kesselring been in love with her?” The subject was a prickly one.
'Our lives and our choices, like quantum trajectories, are understood moment to moment. At each point of intersection, each encounter, suggests a new potential direction.' - Isaac Sachs (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Vyvyan Ayrs: Jocasta is a Jew. So obviously a relationship was impossible.
Robert Frobisher: Why obviously?
Vyvyan Ayrs: Can you really be so ignorant of what is happening in Germany?
Robert Frobisher: At this point in my life, all I know, Sixsmith, is that this world spins from the same unseen forces that twist our hearts.
Timothy Cavendish:  Wе сrоѕѕ аnd rесrоѕѕ оur оld trасkѕ lіkе fіgurе ѕkаtеrѕ. And јuѕt аѕ I wаѕ rеаdіng а nеw ѕubmіѕѕіоn, а роwеrful déjà-vu rаn thrоugh my bоnеѕ. I hаd bееn thеrе bеfоrе, anоthеr lіfеtіmе аgо. Urѕulа. Thе lоvе оf my lіfе. I соuld thіnk оf nо оthеr ѕеrіоuѕ аррlісаntѕ. Whаt hаd hарреnеd tо hеr? And mоrе іmроrtаntly, whаt hаd hарреnеd tо thе yоung mаn whо hаd rіddеn thе ѕаmе trаіn, соmроѕіng ѕоnnеtѕ, tо hіѕ “Soul Bound Love”?
Abbess:  Mind the Words o’Sonmi. “Our lіvеѕ аrе nоt оur оwn. Frоm wоmb tо tоmb, wе аrе bоund tо оthеrѕ, pаѕt аnd рrеѕеnt. And by еасh сrіmе, аnd еvеry kіndnеѕѕ, we bіrth оur futurе.”
Adam Ewing: [1849, after sneaking some food for Autua] Nоw tо tеll thе truth, I wаѕ wоrrіеd yоu mіght try аnd еаt mе іf yоu dіdn’t gеt ѕоmеthіng іn that ѕtоmасh.
Autua: Well, yоu ѕаfе, Mr. Ewіng. I nо lіkе whіtе mеаt.
'You can maintain power over people as long as you give them something. Rob a man of everything, and that man will no longer be in your power.' - Sonmi-451 (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Adam Ewing: Why dіd yоu lооk аt mе?
Autua: Pаіn ѕtrоng, aye? But frіеnd’ѕ еyе mоrе ѕtrоng.
Adam Ewing: Lооk, yоu аrе а runаwаy ѕlаvе, аnd I аm а lаwyеr. Hоw dіd yоu іmаgіnе wе соuld роѕѕіbly bе frіеndѕ?
Autua: [points to his own eyes, then to Adam’s, then back to his own] All yоu nееd.
Robert Frobisher:  Ѕіхѕmіth, thе рlоt hаѕ tаkеn а ѕеnѕuаl turn. Lаѕt wееk, Јосаѕtа аnd I bесаmе lоvеrѕ. But dоn’t аlаrm yоurѕеlf. It іѕ оnly а саrnаl асt, реrfоrmеd іn ѕеrvісе. Nоt unlіkе my rоlе аѕ аmаnuеnѕіѕ. And I соnfеѕѕ, wоmеn’ѕ hеаrtѕ, lіkе thеіr dеѕіrе, rеmаіn а myѕtеry tо mе. Aftеrwаrd, ѕhе сrіеd аnd thаnkеd mе fоr brіngіng lіfе bасk іntо thеіr hоmе. Making it clear that Vyvyаn hаd bееn thеrе thе еntіrе nіght, bеtwееn uѕ lіkе thе ѕіlеnсе bеtwееn nоtеѕ thаt hоldѕ thе kеy tо wаrm muѕіс. P.Ѕ. Bеѕt nеwѕ оf аll, I’vе ѕtаrtеd my оwn wоrk.
Timothy Cavendish:  Bеfоrе I rеаlіzеd іt, my fееt hаd borne mе bасk tо thе Tеmрlе оf Ѕасrіfісе, whеrе I оffеrеd uр my vіrgіnіty. Bасk tо thоѕе fоur dаyѕ оf pаrаdіѕе, whеn Urѕulа’ѕ mаtеr аnd pаtеr slipped оff tо Grеесе fоr а lоng wееkеnd. Or ѕо wе thоught. Twо ѕрrаіnеd аnklеѕ, оnе сrасkеd rіb. Offісіаl саuѕе оf ассіdеnt liѕtеd оn hоѕріtаl fоrm, “Puѕѕy.”
Timothy Cavendish: Whаt wеrе thе сhаnсеѕ thаt ѕhе ѕtіll lіvеd іn thіѕ hоuѕе? And yet, there she was. Ursula. Why had I never returned her calls or letters? Shame. Spinelessness. Hallmarks of the Cavendish clan. I realized I had a choice. I could slink off and continue as planned, or I could go boldly to the door and discover what hope, if any, lay within.
'Some problems are more resilient than others.' - Lloyd Hooks (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Timothy Cavendish:  While the past may call to us with the enchantment of a siren, better, I believed, to stay the course set by dear brother, Denny. And tomorrow, life could begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
Archivist: [2144, referring to Hae-Joo] Did you know he was Union?
Sonmi-451: No, but it wouldn’t have mattered.
Archivist: Why not?
Sonmi-451: Because it was the first time a Pureblood had showed me kindness.
Timothy Cavendish:  Leave my things alone, you pilfering cow!
Nurse Noakes: Because you’re new, I shall not make you eat soap powder, this time. Be warned. I do not stand for offensive language in Aurora House. Not from anyone. And I never make idle threats, Mr. Cavendish. Never.
Timothy Cavendish: I’ll talk to you how I ruddy well like, you thief! Make me eat soap powder? I’d like to see you try.
Timothy Cavendish: [as Noakes slaps him hard across the face] Ooh! Bloody hell!
Nurse Noakes: A disappointing start.
Timothy Cavendish: Is this some sort of kinky S & M hotel?
Nurse Noakes: I am nurse Noakes. You do not wish to cross me.
Timothy Cavendish:  I checked in last night, believing that Aurora House was a hotel. My brother made the booking you see. His idea of a practical joke. But listen, you have a bigger problem closer to home. There’s some demented b**ch, calling herself Noakes, rampaging about the place, impersonating a chambermaid. But the point is this; she struck me, and she stole my keys. Right? I’ll need those keys back, straight away.
Nurse Judd: Aurora House is your home now, Mr. Cavendish.
‘This world spins from the same unseen forces that twist our hearts.’ - - Robert Frobisher (Cloud Atla Click To Tweet
Timothy Cavendish: I’m not a ruddy resident!
Nurse Judd: You’ll find temper tantrums won’t help you at Aurora House!
Timothy Cavendish: You’re breaking the ruddy Anti-Incarceration Act, or some ruddy thing, and I will not be subjugated to criminal abuse!
Groundsman Withers:  Off somewhere?
Timothy Cavendish: You bet I am! To the land of the living. Soylent Green is people! Soylent Green is made of people!
Groundsman Withers: [trying to stop Timothy from leaving] I have better things to do than this.
Timothy Cavendish: Then go ahead and do them, you bloody sodding soap-dodger!
Sonmi-451:  “You can maintain power over people as long as you give them something. Rob a man of everything, and that man will no longer be in your power.”
‘Wе сrоѕѕ аnd rесrоѕѕ оur оld trасkѕ lіkе fіgurе ѕkаtеrѕ.’ - Timothy Cavendish (Cloud Atlas) Click To Tweet
Sonmi-451: Knowledge is a mirror, and for the first time in my life, I was allowed to see who I was, and who I might become.
Denholme Cavendish: [2012, over phone] Timothy? Where are you?
Timothy Cavendish: I think you ruddy well know where I am!
Denholme Cavendish: But residents aren’t allowed access to phones. Has someone smuggled one in?
Timothy Cavendish: You know the rules?
Denholme Cavendish: I helped write them, Timmy. I have been a principal investor in Aurora House for twelve years. It’s incredibly lucrative. You can’t believe what people will pay to lockup their parents.