Movie Review: “Coherence” Is A Brilliant Slice Of Science Fiction

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Review by James McDonald

On the night of an astronomical anomaly, eight friends at a dinner party experience a troubling chain of reality bending events.

Science Fiction is a movie genre that I absolutely love. In it, you can go from the earth to the furthest star in the universe and back again in a split second, depending on the plot device of the story. With “Coherence”, we are given a very normal everyday situation, eight friends meet up at one of their houses for dinner one evening, just as a comet is passing very close to the earth’s atmosphere. As the evening begins, small, seemingly trivial incidents occur, a cell phone crashes, a knock at the door, things that happen to us every single day but as the story advances, the events that transpire, gradually shatters everyone’s previously held beliefs and assumptions about the nature of their reality.

One character, early on in the film, recounts an incident with a previous comet which passed close to earth in 1923 and the effects it had on a small town in Finland. People couldn’t remember their own family members or their own names, they wound up in other people’s houses thinking they were in their own home and some even remembered killing others, which never actually happened because these same people were alive and well. It caused a mass hysteria that nobody could explain. As dinner and conversation progresses, the house loses power. With makeshift candles and glow sticks, they realize that it’s the entire neighborhood and not just their house.

Nobody’s cell phone has any service so a few of the guys decide to make their way down the street to a neighbor’s house which appears to have power but when they return, they start talking gibberish. One mumbles something about having seen their exact same house, set up the exact same way for dinner with all of them, minus themselves, sitting around the table, chatting to each other. Naturally, to everyone else, this sounds crazy and to them, it doesn’t make sense and they think it’s the wine but as the evening draws on, more of them venture outside and lo and behold, there are alternate versions of themselves.


On first viewing, especially towards the end of the movie, things start to happen so quickly that by the time the film is over, you find yourself going back in your mind, rethinking everything that just developed and you realize just how clever the whole film really is. The film deals with alternate realities and divergent narratives and it literally keeps you intrigued to the very end. Another compelling aspect of the movie, is the fact that the entire story takes place in just one location. A movie set in one place must be kept interesting regularly otherwise, the audience will soon lose their enthusiasm and their minds will start to drift.

Director James Ward Byrkit manages to elicit some truly remarkable performances from his entire cast and they are so genuinely believable and engaging, I could have literally watched them sit around the dinner table all night long, talking about the history of stamp collecting. The fact that the movie also infuses some truly mind-boggling science fiction into the mix, is a great testament to the cast and their director. It’s been a very long time since I’ve watched a truly remarkable science fiction movie this good and I highly recommend it.

In select theaters July 11th including the Angelika Dallas


James McDonald
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