The two big caveats to keep in mind while watching Madelines is that 1) it was produced during the pandemic, and 2) its budget was minuscule. Producing a good sci-fi thriller with those limitations will never be a small feat, yet I'll be damned if Madelines didn't manage to do so admirably.
We follow Madeline and Owen, two scientists building a time machine. When one day Madeline gets impatient, she uses herself as a guinea pig, seemingly successfully so. One problem: a bug in her code creates a loop where, for 3,600 days, another version of her gets sent into the future. And each and every clone very much wants to survive, even though they understand that multiple Madelines will create a paradox.
I like the premise, and I like that humor is used liberally throughout the film. Brea Grant—co-writer and co-star—delivers a solid performance as Madeline and is particularly impressive when there are dozens of her on-screen. Even with a small budget, it looks convincing. Props to the effects team and to Grant for her natural interactions with herselves.
Other scenes don’t work quite as well, particularly a few of the CGI shots. Some scenes could have benefited from additional takes, and the ending is very, very abrupt.
You know, though? I don’t care. You might, and judging by its low scores, a lot of people do. I assume they might be focusing on the rough edges when they instead should enjoy the sharp dialogue and inventive plot. This is good sci-fi—better than many higher-profile time-traveling films. It will also run you $5 to purchase right now, which is a steal.
Because you will want to watch Madelines more than once, not only to pick up on new details but to enjoy the adventure. Madelines is a comfort movie in the making.
Letterboxd summary: Working in their garage, indie entrepreneurs Madeline and Owen discover the secret of time travel. There's only one hitch: a bug in the code creates a new copy of Madeline at the same time every day.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||4/6|