Much a cloning experiment about nothing much.
“My Zoe” is the 7th film the wonderful Julie Delpy has directed (other films include “2 Days in Paris” and 2 Days in New York”), but this is a weak one that barely delves in its premise and relies on arguments and moping to keep it rolling.
You have the actors talking like aliens in a Yorgos Lanthimos film, conflicts about the same legal problems, and a story that sags along the way. I really mean it when I said Delpy is a wonderful actress. I really do, but even exceptional talents can take wrong turns.
In this movie, she plays a geneticist named Isabelle, who loves her little girl Zoe (Sophia Ally) more than anything. She’s currently in the divorce process with her ex-husband James (Richard Armitage)-most of the issues regard custody or visitation. Then one day, she finds Zoey comatose in bed. The causes of that might include the youngster catching a cold, falling out of her bed, or hitting her head at the playground.
At the hospital, Isabelle and James argue about how she couldn’t have known Zoe was hurt (she thought she had a cold is her reason), while her new boyfriend Akil (Saleh Bakri) is at her side. Whatever the cause is results in a brain injury, and it’s unlikely she’ll pull through. And at this point, the only way a part of her could live forever, is if one of her kidneys is donated. Isabelle is disgusted by that.
Her mother (Lindsay Duncan) tells her to listen to her heart, which is why she resorts to drastic measures: taking her blood samples to Russia for a little cloning experiment. The cynical doctor is Thomas Fischer (Daniel Bruhl), who knows the process is illegal and unethical, but Isabelle is persistent and determined. More arguing ensues, this time from both Thomas and his wife Laura (Gemma Arterton), who threatens to divorce him if he keeping on pursuing the experiment. And she has her socializing moments with Isabelle.
Are you following what I’m trying to convey?
“My Zoe” only works when Bruhl talks like a human doctor, who’s reluctant enough to go along with the cloning experiment. His performance is likable enough to prevent this movie from going in a complete opposite angle.
Delpy draws some good ideas, but she only delivers them with negative behaviors and arguments. Her arguments with the husband is always the same issue, and they never connect well, even when their daughter is gone. And the doctor’s wife is just as negative and never rises to the occasion.
All these actors-Delpy, Armitage, Bruhl, and Arterton-are excellent in other movies, but they don’t have compelling characters to portray.
The cloning process has to rely on miscarriage and conflicts. I hate to sound like a broken record, but that’s mostly why I disliked “My Zoe.” While the last few minutes show us whether or not the experiment works and Isabelle can finally have her daughter back, you find it to be a missed opportunity.
And FYI, you may be able to clone your spouse, but he/she is still dead. How can anyone think about replacing their loved ones with clones?