Coherence is a movie from 2013 directed by James Ward Byrkit and is a low-budget production. It’s not a film which got my attention because the story is really complex and interesting.
On the night of an astronomical anomaly, eight friends at a dinner party experience a troubling chain of reality bending events. Part cerebral sci-fi and part relationship drama, intimately shot film whose tension intensely ratchets up as its numerous complex mysteries unfold.
The film starts with Emily driving and talking to her boyfriend Kevin. The conversation gets cut due to loss of mobile phone signal. After this, her phone cracks. Emily is the one person which the movie constantly follows. She is the central character and is the only one we constantly follow. I’ll call her Emily Prime. Mike and Lee are a couple and have called for a dinner at their house with several guests like Emily Prime, Kevin, Hugh, Beth, Amir & Laurie.
During the dinner, the Miller’s comet is passing over. Everyone reaches Mike’s and Lee’s place and Beth says she has these drops which is a concoction of her own which is a powerful mix of chemicals with a little horse tranquilizer in it. She uses it to “take the edge off”. At the same time no one has signal on their mobile phones and there is no Internet at home because of the comet. Back on the table, Emily Prime mentions about an older comet event where a woman claimed that her husband wasn’t her husband because she had killed him the day before. Hugh mentions that his phone too shattered spontaneously a while ago.
Suddenly a powercut happens which triggers a whole series of events. Mike gets his glow sticks (blue). There are three boxes with three colors blue, green & red. They open the box with the blue glow sticks and grab one each. They step out to notice there is no power anywhere except for one house. At this point no one s realizing that this house is from another reality. The passing comet has caused infinite realities to intertwine there is also a darker zone in the middle of the next to their own house and we will know later in the movie that any person crossing this zone will enter a different separated reality.
Amir and Hugh decide to check the other house and it’s been 10 min since Hugh and Amir have left the others starting to worry what could have happen. The power returns as Mike gets the house generator running and after several more minutes Hugh and Amir are back. Hugh has a cut on his head which indicates that there was a fight. They come with box that they have picked up from the other house. Mike has a similar box so he tries to use his key to open it and the box really opens. They find a Table Tennis bat and pictures of all of them with numbers behind their pictures which scares them.
No one knows at this time that Hugh and Amir are not from the same reality but at this point, they themselves don’t know that they are from a different reality.
At the other house, Hugh claims to have seen the same house with six other people in it and there having the same dinner. He explains the group that he went around the other house and knocks on their door. The group mention immediately that they heard someone knocking on their own door. There going to think he was going around in circles but Hugh disagree because he is sure he went two blocks straight down the street.
The group sits down on the table and tries to make sense of the stuff they found the the box. The numbers and pictures are the interesting things here, Emily Prime writes down their names and corresponding numbers on a paper while Amir notes that his picture must be from tonight he is looking at the camera but doesn’t remember being snapped. Emily feels that the numbers behind the pictures take from the box are written by her because the handwriting is the same. The events which happened confusing the group and a discussion started what they should do next. Mike suggests all of them should go to the other house to check if their doubles are there. Mike, Emily Prime, Laurie and Kevin leave and Lee, Amir, Hugh and Beth stay. They go over to the other house and Mike says it’s definitely his house. On the other side of the road they see their own doubles from another reality but with red glow sticks. Both groups panic and run in different directions because they don’t know what to do.
Mike, Laurie, Emily and Kevin return to a house which is different from the one they started from but they aren’t aware of this yet. The group talks about the weird dark(er) zone they pass during their trip to the other house and Hugh and Kevin leave to get a book that Beth says was about comets that she’s left on the back of her car.
Schrodinger’s cat is brought up in the notes within the book and an important thing to mentioned here because the entire movie is about this theory. A cat and a vile of poison are in a box and regular physics would say the cat is either alive or dead. Quantum physics says that the cat would be alive and dead. Both realities exist simultaneously until the box is opened – technically the house and the people are like Schrodinger’s cat.
The next events are not really from importance and I will skip this because it’s more to get some action into the movie.
Near the Ending
Emily gets upset and sad about all the events and she decided to leave the group. She wanders from one reality to another she sees that each of the realities has group fighting over something different. Emily stumbles upon a reality where they are not fighting.
Emily sneaks into this house because she thinks everything is better in here then in her own reality because a powercut might never happened in here and everyone doesn’t know about the other realities. Emily from the current reality goes to check on her car and the other Emily sneaks up on her and drugs her with the drops and throws her in the trunk and locks the boot. At the end you see how the group watches the comet passing by and there going inside the house like nothing happened.
The real Emily from the current reality has crawled back into her own house and the new Emily sees her crawling into the bathroom now she is forced to do something or others will notice it, so she strikes her double with the flush lid and dumps her in the bathtub while doing this she drops her ring.
The ‘new’ Emily picks up the ring from her double wears it and steps out and faints, until the next morning on the sofa. She wakes up while Lee is preparing the breakfast. After Emily went into the Bath she realized that the body from the other Emily isn’t in the bathroom and she decided to step outside. Kevin meets her on the street and he gives her the ring he found in the bathroom which means she has two exactly same rings now. Kevin’s phone rings in the meantime and the display shows Emily is calling him. Kevin answers the call, he gives a suspicious look towards Emily and she stares back.
The film ends and the opening questions what happens with two Emily’s in it is not answered – or what will happen with the real Emily.
Things you should know
- The realities aren’t synchronized or connected to each other, there’s a lag between them. Each reality has taken his own bizarre turn. In some we see them fighting, in one Kevin and Mike are tied up to chairs to keep them restrained, there’s all kinds of stuff going down.
- The realities are not just defined by the decisions of that night, they are defined by everything ever. This is obvious from the reality that our Emily ends up in where the Emily of that place has agreed to go with Kevin to Vietnam. They are also sitting around and talking on a couch that never happened anywhere else. Maybe this Emily is less indecisive than our original one.
- Not all realities had adverse effects because of the comet. The reality that our Emily comes from, things went for a toss, no power, no phones, people freaking out etc, the door to nowhere etc. BUT in this reality, everything is fine. The door to nowhere is actually a door to a beautiful place where they go to admire the comet as it “falls apart” just as the Emily, who’s pretending to fit here, her world is falling apart.
The film is really nice and worth to be re-watched after some time to finally understand every part of it. I enjoyed be film because it was something different then the usually pew pew movies we usually get. Coherence got several awards and he deserves it, for sure. I totally can recommend the film and I promise you it’s not a waste of time. Sometimes low-budget films are better than multi million dollar productions and this one is a good example.
Coherence is complex and it takes time to understand that there multiple realities which aren’t connected to each other but since the characters having their own background you will really fast figure out that something is wrong.
Just watch the freaking movie and me later because you won’t regret it!
A Super-Spoilery Interview With the Director of ‘Coherence,’ the Twistiest Movie of the Year (yahoo.com)