Lois Smith is a living legend from a film era long ago.
Everyone wishes when they lose someone dear to them that they had just one more chance, one more moment or one more conversation. Sometimes when the universe decides that their time on this earth is up, neither one may be ready.
In Marjorie Prime, we are witness to an entire family be replaced by holograms to ease into the phase of grief. But, does it ease the grief or make it just that much harder to say goodbye.
Staged last year at the Mark Taper Forum, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama, Marjorie Prime makes you realize it has skillfully targeted punch after punch, right where it hurts.
Primes like Walter (John Hamm), are provided by a company called Senior Serenity, and given the physicality form that best suits the individual they are created to assist. Then they are fed, word by word, with data about the life of that individual and her (or his) relationship with the person who has been simulated.
As much as I love the very strong performances of John Hamm, Geena Davis and Tim Robbins, this film very much is a star vehicle for 85 year-old Lois Smith. There’s something to be said for an actress with such an illustrious and long career, who embraces where she is in life…right now.
Ms. Smith’s Marjorie exists very much in the present, the past and the gray zone in between. In one moment, she summons the sensuality of the flirtatious man-magnet that Marjorie was and the weariness of someone ready to give up on life; the blurriness of a mind going soft and the penetrating sharpness that still breaks through in startling, random flashes.
Your heart bleeds for her daughter Tess (Geena Davis) and the husband Jon (Tim Robbins) who desperately tries to support Tess during this most difficult time.
Marjorie Prime may very well be giving this generation a glimpse into what the future holds when it comes to grief. Will audiences be ready to go on that ride into the future. Only the box office knows for sure.