As movies go, this has to be the most complex film I've ever seen. We missed seeing it when it released in theaters and now I'm glad we waited to see it on dvd.
It's a series of six stories nested and interrelated to one another spanning centuries. What makes it interesting yet a challenge to follow is that each story slips in and out of each time period like a stream of consciousness.
This will not appeal to everyone. I've seen both glowing and blistering reviews. I can tell that those who hate this film probably don't (or won't) understand the subtle context woven into each story. I have to hand it to the author, David Mitchell. He was sublime; reminiscent of Richard Matheson.
This will appeal to those who like stories about reincarnation and soul mates. It's actually grander than soul mates. It's an entire soul group that lives and dies in each century.
Google 'soul group' and you'll find countless links describing this phenomenon. But in simplest terms, we tend to travel through time within certain groups. This might trigger that strange feeling you get when you meet someone for the first time yet you seem to know them immediately and even intimately.
In each life, we are not always good and noble creatures. Sometimes we're scoundrels or worse. The movie shows the growth pattern of each of the characters through the centuries.
We will definitely need to see this a couple more times (and with subtitles) to catch the subtler innuendo. But we both deeply enjoyed it. It's been several days since we've seen the film and we still find things to discuss and analyze.
The cast is led by Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, but there are remarkable performances by all the main actors. Every actor played many roles. (I still can't believe Hugh Grant could pull off a cannibal.) Although their concentration to character must've been grueling, special credit has to go to the film editors. The way they transitioned from one century to the next and then between stories is nothing short of amazing.
It is part science fiction, part historical, part post-apocalytic, part dystopian, but all preternatural.
We live many lives and share them with many people. We are good and evil, and sometimes the smallest gesture can change a world.
If you like epic stories that make you think in four dimensions, I recommend this movie.