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Simone (2002)

Cast: Al Pacino, Al Pacino, Catherine Keener, more...
Director: Andrew Niccol, Andrew Niccol
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: New Line Home Video
Genre: Comedies
Running Time: 117 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Is the time approaching when a persona in its entirety could be a mere fabrication of modern culture and technology? Or did Hollywood enter that time long ago? Either way Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino) finds himself growing more and more aware of the media-obsessed culture in which he tries to earn his living. Taransky is a film director struggling to survive in an industry that doesn't require or want his artistic vision. When first he meets a stranger whose vision is considered somewhat questionable, he doesn't realize the potential of the idea to digitally incorporate a character into his otherwise unsalvageable film. However, in time, not only the director and the entire studio, but American pop culture at large will grow to embrace Simone. As Taransky earns popularity and acclaim via the success of the digitally constructed actress he "discovered," he struggles to define his own identity as an artist and a person, and finds that lying to cover up Simone's non-existence is altering his life entirely. His ex-wife and former employer Elaine (Catherine Keener) notices the difference in his personality, upsetting their daughter Lainey (Evan Rachel Wood) and her hopes of their reconciliation. Meanwhile, stray paparazzi turned private investigators threaten to make public incriminating evidence, which could destroy the limelight Taransky enjoys while "hiding" Simone. Amazingly, what Simone doesn't say or do creates all the more buzz, and causes Taransky to face the reality of his industry. Written and directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), Simone takes a satirical approach to an otherwise fantastical comedy. ~ Sarah Sloboda, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

B-a-a-a-a-a, said the audience by talltale February 8, 2008 - 8:32 PM PST
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Maybe the most underrated movie of its year (2002), SIMONE is amazing: funny, charming, satirical, sharp and utterly delightful from beginning to end. The idea of a computerized "star" is no longer new (watch FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN, if you can bear it), but how Andrew Niccol spins this in endlessly inventive ways is pretty amazing. Yes, the movie satirizes Hollywood (Winona Ryder in an eerily prescient performance), but its main concern is pointing out how sheep-like all of us--from TV to movie people to the public at large--really are. Al Pacino is wonderful, as relaxed and funny as I've seen him in years, and Catherine Keener gives her usual fine performance in her usual businesswoman/artist-from-hell role (DEATH TO SMOOCHY, BEING JOHN MALKOVITCH, LOVELY & AMAZING). As the title character, Rachel Roberts--the live one, that is--may be a flash in the pan (we'll have to wait and see), but WHAT a flash! She's perfection as a gorgeous mediocrity. In fact, the subtlest zinger of all the many that Director Niccol serves up is the fact everything about the star, and the writing and direction of her movies, appears to be completely--but lavishly--mediocre. Is this what it takes to truly engage us all? Well, remember TITANIC. No wonder Pacino gives such a lovely, sad little shrug at the film's close. Perhaps the writer/director's arrows hit way too close to home here, because most critics bashed the movie good and quick, and then the studio yanked it from theatres. Thank god for video and DVD, where discerning audiences still have a chance to discover something terrific. (Stay through the credtis for a final chuckle from Pruitt Taylor Vince--who's great, as always.)

Synth-cinema...?! by Emomovieluver April 15, 2003 - 10:15 AM PDT
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Though I'm a fan of Al Pacino and "Simone" is an enticing stretch into light comedy for him but I couldn't completely get into this movie. The first half of the movie is an engaging story which disintigrates into one after another more unbelieveable and finally a surreal, ridiculous and unsatisfactory conclusion. Model Rachel Roberts makes her film debut here as the perfect looking synth-thespian with Elias Koteas and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos making uncredited appearances. The DVD has nice computer-ized menus and a slew of over a dozen deleted and/or uncut scenes.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 4.63)
46 Votes
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