The latest HBO Max movie, REMINISCENCE takes place in the near future where the titular technology exists, allowing people a chance to relive their favorite memories. Unfortunately, watching this film wasn’t one of one mine, and I hope to soon completely forget about it.

From WESTWORLD co-creator Lisa Joy and starring an A-list cast of Hugh Jackman, Thandiwe Newton, and Rebecca Ferguson, I had high hopes for this film. I’m a fan of WESTWORLD and was excited for an original sci-fi story from a woman writer/director. My hopes were quickly dashed a few minutes into the story and never recovered.

REMINISCENCE (which I’ve been calling REMINISCE because that’s how forgettable this film was) takes place in the not-so-distance future when most of southern Florida has fallen underwater because of climate change and what’s left of cities like Miami are distant islands only accessible by boat or wet urban slums barely protected by shaky dams. There’s been a big war over something unclear that happened before the start of the film. Nick (Jackman) and Watts (Newton) are veterans-cum-business partners who serve clients that want to escape their current lives by plugging into a machine that allows them to relive the favorite moments of their past for a price. One day a mysterious client, Mae (Ferguson), comes in and changes Nick’s life forever.

The cast is great, but the story is just silly all around by trying to be too many things at once: sci-fi story, romance, action film, mystery, crime drama. By the time we got to the resolution, I didn’t care anymore. Jackman and Newton are two favorites of mine, and this film angered me because it felt so beneath both of them. There’s also absolutely no reason for the setting to be practically underwater. It adds nothing to the story, and if it was supposed to be an allegory for something, it sure wasn’t told well communicated well enough. It felt like the director just wanted to include some cool underwater shots. But even Hugh Jackman swimming can’t save this soggy mess.

REMINISCENCE is now streaming on HBOMax and playing in the theatre.

Jami Losurdo

When not writing film and tv reviews, Jami is expanding her collection of colorful sunglasses, lifting weights, and working her day job as a Digital Advertising Director. An alumnus of NYU Tisch for Film/TV, Jami made Los Angeles her home in the early 2000s and continues her quest to find the very BEST tacos of all time.

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