SIMONE   - A  Narada   Film Review

  WINONA RYDER, as the
  bitchy star, Nicola Anders   
   The world's FIRST 
   'Synthespian', SIMONE -
   never looking better, as   
   Elaine Christian
Simone -  2002   - Andrew Niccol - Director Producer

  Reviewed 19 February 2003  SIMONE is an extremely lifelike computer construct that has had every nuance of human expression and voice programmed into it, er, her...   'She' is actually a compilation of several leading stars from the past.   Simone comes to film producer Viktor Taranski by way of a computer hard disk created by Hank, a dying computer programmer.   Meanwhile, Taranski's problems with troublesome leading ladies and his ex-wife-boss have nearly broken him, so in a last-gasp attempt to finish his failing movie, he decides to use Hank's digital SIMulation-ONE as the lead.   He decides to keep it a secret...just for a while.
       His "just for a while" stretches far longer than anticipated, and finally far longer than desired, when Simone's movies become instant smash-hits, and his pixel pop package begins to take on a 'life' of her own.  Taranski finds himself in a complicated dilemma; - keeping the secret becomes continually more difficult, security-wise, and personally.   Yet, at the same time, Taranski (Al Pacino) finds himself rising to the pinnacle of Hollywood 'success'.   He knows he will soon need to make a decision, to break the dilemma, but before he can, things start to unravel.
       This is a delightful comedy, where we get to see both Pacino and Winona Ryder do some real acting. (Way too little of Winona.)    Producer/Director Andrew Niccol has been accused of using SIMONE to lay the tired old message on the viewing public that "Hollywood is a phoney, unreal and insincere place".  But this is too facile.  His message is -- as he dazzlingly illustrates in the film; -- a humorous, slightly chilling reminder that stars are not born, but rather, they are 'made' -- in every sense of the word, and that the adoring public is more than just a little gullible when buying into all the publicity hype.  And I would judge he has done a rather excellent job of it; most of the people I spoke to about the movie thought that Taranski's 'synthespian' star Simone was a digitized, 3-D animated version of the actual flesh-and-blood Simone.  
      Enduring Line or Phrase:  "It's not that you aren't human, it's that I am."

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