Coming to theatres this Friday from writer/director Mike Cahill and Fox Searchlight is a tale that begins further in time with I ORIGINS.
This film tells the story of Dr. Ian Gray (Michael Pitt), a molecular biologist who sees something in the human eye. A beauty that brings him to capture those eyes in photography. One day he sees a pair of eyes on a billboard and has to know who they belong to.
He meets Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), a young woman who is a free spirit. The two fall deeply in love and are wrapped up in their world. Believing he has found something that needs no explanation, Ian continues his work.
In the lab is partner Karen (Brit Marling) along with Kenny (Steven Yeun) who believe in the possibility of the eyes being the window to the soul and gets into the research deep. Both she and Ian waste no time putting together pieces of life that absolutely astound them.
When life shifts for Ian and Karen, so does their perception of their research. Continually searching, Ian is put on a path and a journey that challenges everything he knows about science. Karen pushes him to go find answers to the questions that are plaguing him.
The journey between life and death takes on their whole belief system.
FINAL WORD: Pitt as Ian is absolutely amazing. Although he is analytical and a spiritual doubter of sorts, there is equally something endearing about his character. There is so much pain mixed in with so much hope that Pitt is able to bring both of these intense emotions to the character and every ounce of it shows on the screen. Whether he believes in what he finds or not, his heart is what will help him decide.
Marling as Karen turns in a compelling performance. Yes, I am a Marling fan because this actress can take a role and turn it inside out and every which way to keep an audience involved. Karen is an interesting role in that the excitement of what they are doing comes with its own fears as well. No one said science wasn’t a little scary! There is such believability when Marling takes on a role and in I ORIGINS she brings that to the complex role of Karen.
Berges-Frisbey as Sofi is a such an ethereal free spirited woman. Reaching deep inside Ian, Sofi shares her spirit and openness with a man who is pretty set in his scientific ways. As they continue their relationship, Sofi is a mystery that Ian takes at face value.
Yeun as Kenny has a smaller but supporting role not only in the lab but befriending both Ian and Karen - and NOT followed by zombies.
Other cast include: Venida Evans as Margaret Dairy, Crystal Dickinson as Julie Dairy, Cara Seymour as Dr. Simmons,
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give I ORIGINS four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. It is amazing how emotions and intellect can collide watching one film. One moment my brain is knee deep in molecular biology and DNA and the next I’m in awe of the spiritualness the film brings.
It is so beautifully, beautifully done. I have always been fascinated with eyes and their different colors etc. but I ORIGINS broadens that fascination and brings it to a whole new level. It is a film that truly will bring about conversation and asking questions about our belief systems. This is almost an unlikely marriage between science and faith, but a marriage that works brilliantly!
The cinematography is so stellar and is itself a character in the film. Just the beautiful shots of the human eye were stunning to watch. Also, any time a director takes a camera to India I am thrilled to see their portrayal of such a spiritual country filled with its own amazing beauty of the spirit. The characters in the film are so endearing and that is completely the doing of the writing.
Director Cahill says of his film and what it means to him, “So much of our experiences in life are abstraction with dreams, moments, colors and sounds. It seems like part of our responsibility as humans is to create a narrative and make a story come together. I feel like I’m participating in life!”
In the end – there is a fine line between what we can prove and what we choose to believe!