“Mr. Nobody” is a prominent representative of postmodern cinema. It is filled with quotes, references to the works of scientists and artists. Camera work from frame to frame gives us a beautiful and unrealistic picture – even everyday life is filmed in an unusual way. The voice-over tries to chew any philosophical concept down to the smallest detail.
What is the movie “Mr. Nobody” about?
The picture seems too unrealistic and has little to do with real life. First of all, this is a plot built on quantum physics, string theory and relativity. Plus, the cast is just amazing. The director catered to the audience of both sexes: for girls they took Jared Leto, and for boys – Diane Kruger. You don’t often see people like that on the subway. But still, the film is very close to what we have, being in society on planet Earth.
One of the themes of the film is the question of choice. Every choice, no matter how small, can lead to different consequences. With respect to the spatial dimensions, we can move in all directions: forward and backward, right and left, but with respect to the temporal dimension, we cannot do this. Only forward, only with the burden of what we have accumulated in the past. Mr. Nobody speaks about this in one of his realities, in which he is a TV presenter.
The episode in which Nemo “chooses” his parents sets the theme for the illusion of choice. In fact, the child, of course, is deprived of the opportunity to predict his fate, which is what the whole subsequent plot tells about.
Until the 19th century, sociologists studying societies relied on the fact that the social world was akin to a mechanical clock. One part drives the other, and it pushes the second hand. All human social actions were described as meaningful and purposeful, like gears in a clock. And in such a picture of the world there was no place for chance. The geniuses of that time assumed that even the hump of the nose could determine the character of a person. This was the theory of Johann Lavater. Now it seems silly to educated people, but in those days it was very popular, and it was because of it that the great Charles Darwin could not get on the Beagle ship and go on a journey that opened his eyes to evolution. His nose characterized him as “a weak man and a whiner”, and such a ship is not needed. Subsequently, the vision of the social world as a group of people capable of calculating the smallest consequence of any of their actions was abandoned.
In one of the “parallel universes” Nemo is unhappy with Eliza, but who could have predicted this? (Pay attention to the color of the bedroom!)
Decisions as the main theme of the film “Mr Nobody”
The main theme of the film is not choice, but the result of decisions we make unconsciously: chaos, randomness and how we relate to them. The film begins with documentary footage of the famous American behaviorist Skinner, who conducted experiments on pigeons. Skinner’s research has shown that animals repeat the same patterns of behavior if they think it leads to the desired result, even if their actions have no effect on it. So, some pigeons constantly pecked at the same button in their cage, waiting for food, despite the fact that the food was served at a random time. And it’s not without reason that little Nemo, looking in the mirror, asks the question: “Why am I — this is me?”.
The broken shoelaces of the little hero while chasing his mother’s departing train predetermined his future. If the laces had not broken, he would have slept with his half-sister, smoking weed, and so he looked after his father and crashed on a motorcycle in one reality and became an influential and rich man in another. In any case, the poor quality of the laces was an accident that he could not influence in any way, but this small detail determined his character and future, as did other insignificant details in the course of his life. It seems to us that we can control these things, or they are insignificant, but something larger affects our behavior, mood and ideas: a book filled with philosophical ideas, a strong personality, parents, friends, etc.
Storylines related to girls are colored in different colors. Nemo associates Anna with red – passion, Eliza – with blue (sadness), Jean – with yellow, gold (wealth)
The situation when micro-changes lead to macro-consequences is called the “butterfly effect”. The flapping of a butterfly’s wings in South America could set off a tornado in the US. That is why it is very difficult to predict the future. This idea is demonstrated in the moment when the layoff of a worker in a southern country and lack of food forced him to boil an egg, the steam from which affected the rain in America. This rain washed away the phone number of Anna, Nemo’s beloved.
So, from all possible alternatives, we can choose one thing. The unwillingness to make a choice in view of the infinite choice is also a choice. And all this because the time dimension for our species is strictly unidirectional.
“Mr Nobody” plot explained
The film consists of cuts of different versions of Nemo’s life that he could have lived. And only at the end of the film we learn that everything shown is a projection of the different lives of a child with the ability to see the future. And what’s the point in all this?
In the beginning, we are told that before birth, a person knows his whole life. But before being born, the angel touches the lips of the child, and he forgets everything. This is a reference to the philosophy of Plato. He believed that the human soul is immortal and possesses the fullness of the truth about the world. But before incarnating in the body, she drinks water from the river of oblivion and forgets everything. Embodied in the body, the soul “remembers” the knowledge it possesses.
The main character is the only one who has not been touched by the angel. Therefore, Nemo did not lose knowledge and the future was known to him.
Problem of choice
This is the film’s main problem. First, Nemo chooses the parents to whom he will be born. And then, with which of them should he stay during their divorce. The key is the parting scene at the train station. This is a kind of crossroads with two possible vectors of the main character’s life.
The little boy begins to think about his future. In each of the lines there are many options for the development of events. They depend only on the case.
All events in the film are based on the butterfly effect. The term was described by the American mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz (1917–2008). It means the property of a chaotic system in which any smallest change can lead to global consequences. For example, a butterfly that flaps its wings in America can set off a tornado in Indonesia.
In the film, either an eggshell leads to tragedy, or bad shoelaces prevent a child from reaching its mother, or an overcooked egg leads to rain that washes away the phone number written on a piece of paper.
We are constantly shown how any accident can lead to completely unpredictable consequences. So, if the wind had not torn off a leaf from a tree and left it on the sidewalk, then the father of the protagonist would not have slipped on it and met the hero’s mother.
But then what is a person to do in a world full of accidents? Choose.
Who am I
If accidents determine the direction of life, then what depends on the person? The answer is given in the film: the choice depends on the person, it is he who determines who we are.
Sartre once said: “It is not what was made of me that is important, but what I myself made of what was made of me.” That is, a person is determined not by circumstances, but by what he does with their consequences.
The protagonist sees thousands of options for the future, but still he has to make an independent choice. He realizes that this is where his strength lies. The lines of life in which he follows his mother and father lead to negative endings. Therefore, at the decisive moment at the station, the hero runs the third road, choosing his own path. And only on this path did he find happiness.
“Mr Nobody” ending explained
Mr. Nobody sees different variations of the future, but he still has to make a decision personally. In all life variations that the viewer sees, the ending is always tragic and negative. Because of this, in the final scene, the protagonist chooses a different path. He doesn’t follow any of his parents because he remembers the future. Only here he found true happiness and purpose. The main idea of the film is that a person must independently manage his own destiny, determine his decision, not paying attention to anyone.
He himself must make plans for the future. Man is born free and he has every right to live as he sees fit. Everything is important in this film – the plot, the acting, the music. In the film, everything is harmoniously combined, the main character was impeccably played by Jared Leto. A chic plot will leave no one indifferent, the musical accompaniment is matched perfectly. It is impossible to tear yourself away from watching, the film enriches the viewer culturally and spiritually. After watching, the viewer thinks about his choice, about his life and how it could have turned out. The essence of the film is that time cannot be stopped. Life does not stand still, even Nemo’s nine-year-old child is being pushed by his parents to make a choice. He may not do it, no matter how much he wants to.
This film has a deep philosophical meaning, about different dimensions.
I hope I helped you find the meaning of the movie “Mr. Nobody”, as well as understand its ending. If you have a different vision of the film, write your version in the comments.