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Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Daniel Wu, Cliff Curtis, Nico Parker, Angela Sarafyan, Natalie Martinez, Marina de Tavira
OUR RATING: ★★½
Sci-fi thriller written and directed by Lisa Joy. Set in the near future, Reminiscence (2021) follows Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, who offers clients the chance to relive any memory they desire. His life changes when he meets a new client, Mae (Rebecca Ferguso). What begins as a simple matter of lost and found becomes a passionate love affair. But after Mae disappears, Bannister has to delve through the dark world of the past to uncover the truth about the woman he fell for.
Our Favorite Quotes:'No such thing as a happy ending. All endings are sad. Especially if the story was happy.' - Nick Bannister (Reminiscence) Click To Tweet
Nick Bannister: The past can haunt a man. That’s what they say. That the past is just a series of moments. Each one perfect. Complete. A bead on the necklace of time. The past doesn’t haunt us. Wouldn’t even recognize us. If there are ghosts to be found, it’s us who haunt the past.
Watts: You’re late.
Nick Bannister: “Late” is a construct of linear time. We don’t deal in that.
Watts: And yet, we charge by the hour.
Nick Bannister: It used to be you couldn’t go back again. But time is no longer a one-way stream. Memory is the boat that sails against its current. And I’m the oarsman. When the waters rose, and war broke out, there wasn’t a lot to look forward to, so people began looking back. The tank started as an interrogation tool, and since then nostalgia’s become a way of life. But for Watts and me, it’s a living.
Nick Bannister: You’re going on a journey. A journey through memory. Your destination? A place and time you’ve been before. To reach it, all you have to do is follow my voice.
Watts: You keep putting s**t on the house for your war buddies, the roof’s liable to cave in.
Nick Bannister: We’ll be fine, Watts. Nostalgia never goes out of style.
'Memories are like perfume. Better in small doses.' - Nick Bannister (Reminiscence) Click To Tweet
Nick Bannister: Truth is, nothing is more addictive than the past. Who wouldn’t want to be reunited with a loved one? Or relive the most meaningful moments of their life? But memories, even good ones, have a voracious appetite. If you’re not careful, they consume you.
Watts: [offer him her flask of drink] Here. Have some. It’ll help with the pain. You think I can’t tell when you’re hurting?
Nick Bannister: Well, I have the leg. What’s your excuse?
Watts: I work for you.
Nick Bannister: There are certain moments that never leave you. Like the moment I first saw her.
Nick Bannister: Forgotten things can always be fished up and dusted off. But the lost, those things people never really took much notice of, till they were gone. They’re defined by their absence.
Watts: You can’t remember something that never made an impression.
'That the past is just a series of moments. Each one perfect. Complete. A bead on the necklace of time. The past doesn't haunt us. Wouldn't even recognize us. If there are ghosts to be found, it's us who haunt the past.' Click To Tweet
Nick Bannister: You don’t need much to unlock a flood of memories. Trick is finding the right one. Relax. It always works out fine.
Mae: Don’t say “always”. “Always” makes promises it can’t keep.
Nick Bannister: When the sun rises, Miami turns into a ghost town. To escape the heat of day, the city’s become nocturnal. But sleep doesn’t come easy. We’re all haunted by something.
Nick Bannister: Years ago, the battles at the border ended, but the battles at home had just begun. We try to go on like nothing’s changed, but underneath, the city simmers with unrest, which means the DA’s office is never short of work.
Nick Bannister: During the war, barons like Walter Sylvan bought up all the drylands for pennies on the dollar. They profited off the desperate and left them to live at the mercy of the tides. The displaced carry on the best they can. One day, the ocean will reclaim all of this. Until then, the Sunken Coast is where they call home.
'Missing people is a part of this world. Without that sadness, you can't taste the sweet.' - Watts (Reminiscence) Click To Tweet
Nick Bannister: Will you tell me something I’ve been wondering about? Before you performed, last night, you were crying. Why?
Mae: That was my memory. Shouldn’t you have just seen the things I was looking at?
Nick Bannister: Why were you crying?
Mae: Nerves. Happens before every gig. I step onto that stage, and they don’t want to see a
woman in a thrift store dress, wondering how she’s going to make rent. They want something perfect. They want to be lied to.
Nick Bannister: You don’t seem like you’re lying.
Mae: Well, I guess it’s working.
Mae: [to Nick] That machine of yours, how close can you get before the illusion’s broken?
Nick Bannister: People tend to notice the same things they were focused on in the moment. I mean, it’s possible, if you revisit the same memory enough to notice new things. But if you’re not careful, you can get burned. Have that moment seared in an endless loop in your mind.
Mae: That’s why you never go in the tank?
Nick Bannister: Memories are like perfume. Better in small doses.
Mae: Maybe you haven’t made the right memories.
Watts: Jesus Christ. You’re in here again?
Nick Bannister: No, no, no, no! Put me back! Put me back!
Watts: For months now, you’ve been hitting this tank, reliving every damn memory you had with her. You have to get your head out of the past and into the here and now!
'Memories, even good ones, have a voracious appetite. If you're not careful, they consume you.' - Nick Bannister (Reminiscence) Click To Tweet
Watts: It’s been months, Nick. I can’t keep turning a blind eye to this.
Nick Bannister: I’m the boss, not you. And I’ve turned a blind eye to plenty.
Watts: Well, the difference is, I know what I’m going to find at the bottom of a bottle. And it’s not answers.
Nick Bannister: [referring to Mae] We were happy. We were planning for the future. She wouldn’t just disappear, not without a word.
Watts: She settled up with her landlord. She emptied her apartment.
Nick Bannister: She would have told me. Why didn’t she tell me?
Watts: All I know is, wherever she is, she has moved on. And you should too.
Nick Bannister: People don’t just vanish. Okay? She must be in some kind of trouble.
Watts: We’re the ones in trouble, Nick.
Nick Bannister: I try to forget. But even without the tank, she haunts me.
Nick Bannister: You can’t find one memory without moving through others. I couldn’t just see the things I was asked to find. I saw why they ran in the first place. When the waves came for them, they had no walls to hide behind.
Mae: And the people, what happened to them?
Nick Bannister: The world moved on. Trying to pretend like none of this happened. But there are some things we should never forget.
Mae: And some things we can’t forget even if we want to.
'When you're young, you think the future will be one thing. You see it play out like a string of dominoes. You have no idea the things that are lined up.' - Swati (Reminiscence) Click To Tweet
Nick Bannister: Where did she go? Why did she leave? People don’t just disappear.
Mae: Are you awake?
Nick Bannister: No.
Mae: Then I must be dreaming too.
Mae: You do this to impress all the girls?
Nick Bannister: Only the one I’m in love with.
Mae: You don’t love me. We’ve only known each other a few months.
Nick Bannister: You know how many sunsets I saw in the trenches? One thousand four hundred and fifty-eight. I counted them, every minute. Sunset was the last few minutes before the fighting began again. I used to wonder how I could spend those moments better. Now I know.
Mae: Tell me a story.
Nick Bannister: A story? What kind of story?
Mae: One with a happy ending.
Nick Bannister: No such thing as a happy ending. All endings are sad. Especially if the story was happy.
Mae: Then tell me a happy story, but end it in the middle.
Nick Bannister: Ever hear of Orpheus and Eurydice?
'Maybe memory fades for a reason. If we just dwelled on the bad things in the past, we'd never get over them. And if we just dwelled on the good, we might never match it again.' - Mae (Reminiscence) Click To Tweet
Nick Bannister: Saw a lot of runners at the border. There are more elegant ways of stopping a man than a bullet.
Harris: Yeah? I heard your partner didn’t share the same philosophy.
Watts: Only philosophy I had was “don’t die”. And I went through plenty of bullets trying to keep it that way.
Nick Bannister: Dying men always want closure. Some last, happy thought to cling to before they die.