Nicolas Roeg, UK, 1985, 110 min.
Four recognizable people move in and out of each other’s lives in a steamy night in a hotel room. The Professor (Albert Einstein), the actress (Marilyn Monroe), the Senator (Joseph McCarthey), and the Ballplayer (Joe DiMaggio).
The film has three main plot-lines that intertwine. The Senator wants the Professor to appear in front of the Senate to name names. The Actress and the Professor find they have a lot in common. The Ballplayer and the Actress are trying to reconcile their marriage.
All of this is staged in a slew of well-made scenes. Witty dialog, sparkly direction and a watery editing style that jumps between past and present. It’s a wonderfully interesting film full of some great acting and scenes.
But what is it all about? There is a lot of talk about the universe and a grand unifying theory to tie it all together. The atomic blasts in Japan take a major roll, as well as potential pregnancies and the value of celebrity. It’s hard to figure out what it all means.
But the title, although not very subtle, is important, and makes you look at all the above events in a different light. This film contains a wonderful scene, where Marilyn Monroe explains the theory of relativity to Einstein. It’s beautiful and different and filled me the joy of cinema. In the face of such overwhelming odds that the universe presents us we should take what we can get and enjoy it while we can.