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Simone
2002 - PG-13 - 117 Mins.
Director: Andrew Niccol
Producer: Andrew Niccol
Written By: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Al Pacino, Winona Ryder, Jay Mohr, Catherine Keener, Evan Rachel Wood, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jason Schwartzman, Daniel von Bargen, Elias Koteas, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
Review by: John Ulmer
   
“S1m0ne” is based around a failing Hollywood director, who creates a digital star; the star, named “Simone,” (Simulation One) becomes an overnight sensation. She is admired by women and wanted by men. She is everywhere. She wins Oscars, awards of all kinds. There’s only one problem. The more attention the director’s creation gets, the harder it is for him to keep the secret buried.

Viktor Taransky is that director, played by the wonderful Al Pacino. All of Viktor’s latest films have been “tanks,” as his ex-wife ((Catherine Keener) admirably calls them, at the box office. But hope is in sight yet for Viktor. Or was, before his biggest star (Ryder) walks out on him, leaving him to cope with no star, and an upcoming dropped contract with the studio (courtesy to his ex).

And then, on the verge of madness and frustration, Hank Aleno (Elias Koteas), a mad scientist with an eye tumor, hands something magical and mysterious to Viktor. A box. But what is inside the box is what is so magical, as Viktor soon finds out. He just doesn’t realize how special it is.

He now has the power to create an actress. But not just any actress—an actress who never forgets her lines, never makes any mistakes for the press to create a stir about, and never, ever talks back.

And so that is what starts this cynical comedy off.

Written, produced and directed by Andrew Niccol, who recently brought us the Jim Carrey vehicle "The Truman Show" and wrote and directed "Gattaca," both movies satirizing Hollywood and its potential outcomes.
However, I enjoyed “S1m0ne” more than “The Truman Show.” There was just something about Truman that I couldn’t warm up to – it left me in the cold, wishing I could come in; but the film just wouldn’t let me. There was a feeling of distance from the audience.

Much is the same with “Simone,” however: I feel that “Simone” has a much better sense of humor.
Yes, many of the things are routine. Yes, there are plot holes galore. But that was part of the problem I had with Truman – the plot holes. There were too many. “Simone,” however, has little enough plot holes as to not ruin the film, and just enough to not give it a tremendous rating.

Al Pacino does good here. He’s very believable as Taransky. So is Rachel Roberts as Simone. She has that level of “Hollywoodosity” that makes stars famous.

I think that “Simone” did deliver on many levels. Yes, leaving the audience guessing isn’t its strongest trait, but I still enjoyed it. Sometimes you’ve just got to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. I did, at least.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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