My Zoe
Blue Fox Entertainment
Reviewed by Tami Smith, Film Reviewer for Shockya
Grade: B+
Director: Julie Delpy
Screenwriter: Julie Delpy
Cast: Julie Delpy, Richard Armitage, Sophia Ally, Daniel Bruhl, Saleh Bakri, Linday Duncan
Release Date: February 26, 2021

My Zoe, which takes place in the near future, tells the story of Isabelle (Julie Delpy), a Berlin-based scientist who is in the last stages of divorce proceedings from ex-husband James (Richard Armitage). The couple argue about custody rights for their primary-school-aged daughter Zoe (Sophia Ally) and will soon sign the final agreement. After Zoe suffers an unexpected injury, she falls into a coma, is taken into a hospital, and pronounced brain-dead in short order. In this future German medical healthcare system there is no time wasted talking about the legal-moral issues of taking a child off life support and donating her organs to sick children, but given the country’s Third Reich history we do not wonder why.

Isabelle, however, is pursuing her own agenda, determined to keep a genetic version of Zoe alive. She goes to Moscow and meets a fertility doctor, Thomas Fischer (Daniel Bruhl), who may be able, though reluctantly, to help her clone Zoe.

Director Delpy’s script is a story about loss, grief, and recovery with the help of modern technology. Being the writer, director and the main character gives her the freedom to achieve a complete creation. Her Isabelle is a woman so driven by urgency that she spends little time grieving over her daughter’s death. Though her marriage failed, Isabelle is pushing full-steam ahead to Moscow while pursuing recreation by all means necessary, legal or not.

Richard Armitage plays a conventional ex-husband, James, who believes in his career first and does not understand his ex-wife’s desires for professional and familial fulfillment. During the film’s most disturbing dialogue James engages Isabelle in a loud and long verbal argument, in a hospital’s glass cubical, while their daughter lies comatose in an adjacent sick room. Sophia Ally plays a cute Zoe, acting as a live-body but brain-dead person.

Good supporting performances are given by Daniel Bruhl as fertility Doctor Thomas Fischer, Lindsay Duncan as Isabelle’s mother Laura, and Saleh Bakri as Isabelle’s boyfriend Akil who proves to be more sensitive to her needs than James ever was.

Editing for My Zoe was done by Isabelle Devinck, successfully dividing the plot into three acts, each separated by a black screen. The film was photographed by Stephane Fontaine with locations at Berlin, Germany and Moscow, Russia. This is an English-speaking movie with subtitles provided for occasional French, German and Russian.

93 minutes   Rated: R © Tami Smith, Film Reviewer
Story: B
Acting: B+
Technical: B+
Overall: B+

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