Reminiscence Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

«Reminiscence» / Reminiscence

Genre science fiction, thriller
Directed by Lisa Joy
Cast Hugh Jackman (Nicholas), Rebecca Ferguson (May), Tendywe Newton (Watts), Cliff Curtis (Cyrus), Daniel Wu (Saint Joe), Brett Cullen (Walter), Angela Sarafian (client) and others.
Студии FilmNation Entertainment, Kilter Films, Michael De Luca Productions
Release year 2021
Site IMDb

The film Reminiscence promised a rather interesting spectacle with elements of a fantastic thriller, so the picture could become one of the most prominent premieres of the summer. In addition, the main roles in it were played by Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson, who previously worked on the same set – the actors played in the musical The Greatest Showman.

Reminiscence is a dark story that takes place against the background of a flooded Miami, turned into a dilapidated metropolis, where boats become the same transport as elevated subway cars. During the day it is unbearably hot here, so the city is reborn only after sunset. There is almost no joy left in the lives of people who have seen not only natural disasters, but also war. Therefore, many use the service of traveling through their own memory in order to feel again the happiest moments from the past, which, due to circumstances, will never be repeated.


Nick (Hugh Jackman) is a war veteran and the owner of a machine that allows anyone to be immersed in a memory of their choice. Nick mostly capitalizes on other people’s nostalgia, but one day he uses his technology to try to figure out what happened to the woman he loves (Rebecca Ferguson) who went missing without explanation. The hero becomes a hostage of memories, looking for the truth in them, which can become a clue and destroy his peace forever.

Reminiscence was directed, written and produced by Lisa Joy, best known for the Westworld series she co-created with her husband Jonathan Nolan (brother of Christopher Nolan).

“Reminiscence” Lisa Joy turns into a noir with a voice-over of the narrator belonging to the main character. It shows a new world in which, despite technological progress, there are fewer opportunities and more despair. Actually, technical progress here can only be seen on the example of the machine that the protagonist uses, so in general, people exist without innovative technologies that could help cope with the flood.


The hero of Hugh Jackman explains to us how his life works, missing the details of the ended war (the unnamed military conflict actually becomes only a blurry background for the development of the plot). Together with his story, we see an impressive picture of a half-submerged city in which crime thrives. However, it is not possible to feel the scale of sadness and despair reigning in the district – all the attention of the film is concentrated on the love lamentations of the central character.

In general, traveling through fragments from the past, which helps to understand the present, is always a curious and exciting topic. At first, the past moments, which can be extracted and explored in detail, seem to be an extremely successful basis for the film. Alas, plot twists in the spirit of a detective investigation very quickly turn into a continuous love obsession, which exposes the hero to mortal danger, and the audience to tiresome repetitions (some scenes from the past are scrolled several times).


Hugh Jackman, of course, does his best to make his character filled with doubt, anger and revenge. Unfortunately, his character is not as multifaceted as we would like – he is blinded by love, so his aspirations and actions are limited exclusively to one person.

As for the plot twists, in the second half of the film they surprise with banal drama and do not at all please with ingenuity (not to mention the detective component). The secondary and negative characters are written extremely uninterestingly, the only bright character is Nick’s partner, played by Thandiwe Newton (known from the Westworld series).

So because of the sentimental scenario, Reminiscence becomes not a discovery, but rather a disappointment of this summer. But, it is worth noting that the film has spectacular scenes in which Rebecca Ferguson appears, as well as one underwater episode with a beautiful production. So the visuals here are not as bad as the plot.

Pros: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson and Thandiwe Newton; a city that was half flooded; technology that allows you to travel through memories; several spectacular scenes Cons: lacks details from the background story; a dark noir quickly turns into a pained tale of love obsession; uninteresting minor characters

in Reminiscence, sentimental drama supplants science fiction so that Hugh Jackman’s character can suffer for two hours for his beloved.

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