Review: Zoe

Ewan McGregor and Léa Seydoux in Zoe

Amazon Prime’s new original Zoe comes with decent star power but a story that never seems to catch fire. It’s about the relationships between humans and synthetic intelligences.

Ewan McGregor and Léa Seydoux have the lead roles as a tech genius creating artificial intelligence and his creation Zoe. Most synthetics know from the start that they are not human. Zoe, however, is lead to believe that she is human.

Zoe falls for her creator Cole. He eventually falls for her. But the trajectory of human/artificial love is an uneven one. In this story, it unfolds in the most muted, dreary way. It follows the normal boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl three acts but without the romance or spark it needed.

I was irritated throughout the entire movie because, yet again, a man must create an artificial woman in order to find love. Love with a real woman is out of the question. Only a perfect creation (e.g., created by a man) is satisfying. If this is the only thing men can think of to do with advanced technology, we really need more women in the STEM pipeline.

As proof, Cole has a human ex-wife Emma (Rashida Jones), that he shares a son with. According to his machines, their chances of lasting were in the low percentages. He divorced her for that reason. Divorce by algorithm.

Theo James played a wise synthetic man named Ash. Jewels (Christina Aguilera) was a synthetic sex worker, controlled by The Designer (Miranda Otto). The Designer thought Zoe would be a great employee and offered her a job.

Zoe was extra valuable because a whole line of Zoe 2.0 creations were out making men happy. The original prototype was worth a lot. Zoe evolved in unexpected ways because she thought she was human, contributing to her value.

I don’t know if they shot it the way Orphan Black created multiple versions of Tatiana Maslany, or if they used CGI, but the scene with about 20 copies of Léa Seydoux was interesting and seamless looking.

If your passion is thinking about where technology is headed and where artificial intelligence is headed, Zoe will probably interest you. I found it anti-woman and dull.

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