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Reminiscence: Plot | Release Date | Cast


David Mudd

Reminiscence is an American psychological sci-fi thriller that will be released in theatres on 20 August 2021. The movie is directed by Lisa Joy who also co-created the complex scientific fantasy Westworld. 

This movie is Lisa’ directorial debut. As we are already familiar with her work in Westworld, it is not at all a stretch to think that she will go deep into the innermost layer of her ideas and execute them with precision. It is pretty unique to see science fiction pairing up with a psychological narrative and create something that surmounts both of these genres. 

Using science fiction to discover the various enigmatic sides of the human psyche is nothing new though. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is perhaps the best example found in English literature. Man’s ambition to create life and play God ultimately cost him everything he had ever loved. Nick and Watts’ memory-retrieving machine too will not leave them unscathed and has far-reaching ramifications. 

Without further ado, let us talk about Reminiscent and the ever-mysterious human minds that it aims to explore.

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Plot of Reminiscence

The story is set in an apocalyptic Miami. It shows a time when Miami has become a nocturnal city, suspending all daytime activities due to the scorching heat. 

Wyatts(Thandie Newton) and Nick Bannister(Hugh Jackman) are two friends who are business partners as well. They run a private company which provides an unusual service. They let people delve into the memories. So if one wants to live the memory and they have immersed themselves in the water while all plugged in with the memory– machine and the journey begins. Nick’s voice guides them through.

Things take a sinister turn when Mae(Rebecca Ferguson)shows up one day as a client and tells them that she is looking for a key. Nick seems to be intrigued by Rebecca and later Rebecca suddenly disappears. Rebecca’s disappearance drives Nick mad. He now must undertake the journey into the past through his memories of her. This turns Nick’s world upside down.

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The World of Memory

The world of memories is ever-expanding and ever-shifting. There is no solid ground to hold on to. The cinematography seems to show this with a powerful portrayal. 

The title of the movie reads Reminiscent which means one thing reminding of something else or recounting something from the past, remembering. 

The construction of memory is layered and complex and speaks a lot about who we are. Among the modern writers, Harold Pinter has done a remarkable job, exploring the various sides of memory. 

Like Pinter’s plays, here memory becomes an instrument or weapon to manipulate with; a hidden part of true identity.

Origination story: A directorial debut

featuring lisa joy, the director of reminiscence
Reminiscence is the directorial debut of Lisa Joy

The idea of making a movie on the strange nature of memories came to Lisa Joy when she visited her grandfather’s house at Slaithwaite in rural England following his death. The big old house had always fascinated her. As she went there, lots of Childhood memories came back. As she was going through her grandfather’s things, she found a picture of a beautiful lady. At the back of the photo, a name was written which also happens to be the name of the house. Joy remembered how her grandfather never told her the meaning of the name of the house. She says that this got her thinking about how much she must have meant to him. She wondered how she always must have been part of his memory. 

This incident was the first inspiration that made Joy want a project on the nature of memories and their elusiveness. 

What made Lisa Joy sure of this project was her desire “to bottle up ” her first experience of motherhood. She realised the present experience would become past before she could even think. 

This prompted her to work on this movie. 

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The power of the past

a glimpse from reminiscence
Showcasing a still from the movie, Reminiscence

The movie will show the dangerous sides of memory and the addictive nature of the past. The service that Nick and Watts provide is completely based on people’s love for nostalgia and desperate need to live in memories once again. This tells us how hard it is to let go of the past, whether it is good or bad. The desire to reliving the memories and continuously play them in our mind makes us lose our chances of doing better in the present and the Future. 

When Nick meets Mae, he seems to be dragging himself into her world, through her memories. That is the point where we learn about the fatal side of memory. When it comes to remembering, we can keep the memory of what we please and erase the rest like it never happened. Memory is sort of a customized space in our minds. We reminisce in whatever way we want to. 

The precedents of Reminiscence

The movie will inevitably remind you of Christian Nolan’s Inception. Especially the way the world of memory has been created, it is bound to make you think of Nolan’s psychological journey movie in which the director has explored the idea of planting dreams in the subconscious.

Stephen Spielberg’s sci-fi thriller Minority Report is another great movie that plays with the complex ideas of time and place and memories. 

Hugh Jackman as Nick Bannister

featuring nick bannister from reminiscence
Starring Hugh Jack from Lisa Joy’s Reminiscence

Lisa Joy was hell-bent on the condition that Hugh Jackman must play the lead. Jackman himself has said that he found the idea and script extraordinary.

He plays the role of an ex-soldier, Nick Bannister who is a bit broken and disengaged with the world. Little does he know what darkness is lurking out there.

Thandiwe Newton as Watts

Thandie Newton plays the role of Nick’s protective friend and his business partner. She is the one who tries to save Nick and suggests he stay away from Mae. 

Rebecca Ferguson as Mae

Rebecca Ferguson plays the role of the enigmatic Mae who comes to Nick as a client wanting to retrieve a key. Then she disappears. This causes Nick to take desperate measures to find the truth. 

Daniel Wu

Daniel Wu plays the role of Saint Joe. He is likely the antagonist to Jackman’s Nick. So expect some cool action scenes between them.

Release date of Reminiscence

The movie will be released on 20th August 2021.

Availability of Reminiscence

It will be released in the theatres as well as on HBO MAX.


The trailer of the movie has been launched officially and it has generated strong anticipation among the movie-buffs. A detective of the mind, a protective friend, a mysterious woman with secrets seem to be too delicious a dish to ignore. What makes it a bit more relatable is that the movie, even though futuristic, is set shortly that strongly presents the danger of climate change. 

A lot of crucial things come together to remind us of the past all the while the horror that could take place if we don’t listen. This is what Nick says to his clients, ” Just follow the sound of my voice.” So we must. 

Drop your comments below in the comments section. Let us know what you think of the upcoming sci-fi noir.