Mr. Nobody

How difficult is it to take a decision? One you’ll never take back? What if you’d know where that decision is going to take you?

Mr. Nobody ( as opposed to my short story) is a 2009 movie starring Jared Leto as Nemo Nobody,  a 118 years old man telling a reporter all about the labyrinth of decisions that is his life.

It’s the year 2092, and Nemo is the last mortal on Earth – the rest of the human population having obtained a sort of immortality – but for him it’s still 2009, and he’s 34 years old.

Borrowing a bunch of scientific theories and concepts such as the theory of parallel universes and the butterfly effect, Mr. Nobody uses a non-linear narrative, weaving Nemo’s fragmented memories into a conglomerate of alternate love stories. This is pretty much it.

At the age of 9, following his parents’ divorce, Nemo had to choose between staying with his father in England and leaving with his mother in the United States. An almost impossible decision for a child his age. The scene with the train is one of my favorite movie scenes ever – it’s impressive because it underlines how even the most insignificant of occurrences can set our lives on an entirely different course.

The story follows Nemo both in England and in the United States, breaking the storyline in two.

At the age of 15, Nemo falls in love for the first time. This is when the story breaks once more, into three parts this time: Anna, his true love, is the daughter of his mother’s boyfriend. It’s the unrequited love story of the movie, while Jean and Elise are Nemo’s “options” back in England.

The thing is that each story is different, and Nemo, as a person, ends up being different each time.

A movie about chaos, Mr. Nobody puts the viewer in front of a hypothetical crossroad. There are a lot of meager circumstances that might affect your decision, but ultimately, the idea is that there are no good or bad decisions. Just life happening and a million different actions that might change it forever.


24 thoughts on “Mr. Nobody

  1. It's funny because I came to this conclusion recently. Ten years ago I had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It was quite serious, stage four. I learned that it might have been connected with a tainted strain of polio vaccine (there was a spike in cases of NHL in my demographic). I have heard that some who are polio survivors now have "post Polio syndrome", a very painful condition, so they have been attacked twice by this terrible disease.

    The Polio vaccine was haled as a miracle and yet for some was the cause of cancer later in life, me in fact. I was angry for a while.

    Vaccines were new when I was a baby and only beginning to be available in Canada. My father had me vaccinated on my thigh because he thought it might leave an ugly scar on my arm. As fashions changed you could see the scar on my thigh anyway because my skirts were so short when I was a teenager (1970's). Ha!

    I think that there are flavours and layers to every choice. There are hardships and difficulties to every life but some are more likely to lead us to compassion than others. Why is compassion a better result? Compassion is like the best polish for the human spirit, it doesn't change anything but it makes it more clear who we are.

    If we have to be alive we should not suffer conditions and circumstances. Compassion is the only space that does not make room for conditions and circumstances.


    • "Compassion is like the best polish for the human spirit, it doesn’t change anything but it makes it more clear who we are." Really great line! The vaccine may have prevented you from getting Polio, the scar just shows that you lived a little, and you beat the cancer. I'm glad you were only angry for *a while*!

      — YUR


  2. I saw sliding doors, which is a similar story; however, in this movie "Mr. Nobody" the outcomes of his life are different.

    I do believe in life's perfect harmony. All circumstances are perfect, weather we regret the decision and wonder about some other outcome. Thanks for post!


  3. There are always what-ifs in life. When you take one path, that course plays itself out. If it was not meant to be, things change and something else happens. It's an interesting idea; the idea of destiny vs luck/chance.


  4. I am not sure if I expressed it well. There is always the question of whether we have an essential nature or if we are purely a reflection of our choices. What I think is that we are essentially stainless and that we are merely obscured by circumstances. When I said "Compassion is the only space…" I meant that despite all the stories and possible stories of our lives, much like the room that Mr. Nobody finds himself in, we are ourselves when we are free of circumstances that we thought defined us; essentially no one special, or "Mr. Nobody" and yet immortal.

    I have many scars and lots of stories. Anger can be exhausting but it can also be invigorating if applied to something worthwhile. I get angry but I can't stay angry!

    Thank you for commenting! Have you read the book?


  5. Sounds very interesting. Unfortunately not available on Netflix right now, but I saved it for later anyway. Sounds like it could be up there with "Somewhere in Time" and "The Time Traveler's Wife", two of my favorites. Thanks.


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