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the mandela effect phenomenon

Movie Reviews

‘The Mandela Effect Phenomenon’: More infuriating than illuminating

Luke, I’m the daddy.

The Mandela Effect Phenomenon gets off to an overly energetic start and is never able to find its footing. The documentary looks into the eponymous psychological phenomenon. It posits theories as to what may be the cause of and why humanity should be worried. Bad editing and a lack of anything engrossing makes it more frustrating than anything else.

The first red flag is after boldly stating the filmmakers have talked to a number of “experts”, the entire film has interviews with exactly two people. While doctors, scientists, and those with firsthand knowledge do the heavy lifting, journalists and authors usually add flavor. They back up solid facts by citing interviews they have conducted or books they have read. The Mandela Effect Phenomenon decides that one reporter and one writer are enough to carry the entire film.

This means the whole production depends on the credibility of only two men. Difficult, but not impossible, as long as the material is strong and the interviewees are able to convey confidence and knowledge. This is where The Mandela Effect Phenomenon completely falls apart. Quite simply, it is impossible to get behind the only two people who are featured.

Mark LaFlamme of the Sun Journal sole argument is “it sounds better the way I remember it.” Not only is this subjective, it provides a  answer for those who experience the Mandela effect. Since it arguably sounds better, that is how people will remember it. The Star Wars example (“Luke, I am your father” vs. “No, I am your father”) is particularly bad since his whole argument is based around the former sounding better. This may be true if you are listening to just that one line. But, include the previous five seconds and the latter makes complete sense since it is a response.

Even when LaFlamme is not putting down the “lazy” writing of accomplished screenwriters, he does not come off well. Alternating between flustered and rushed, he often sounds like he does not even believe what he is saying. The fact that he often speaks in circles and makes some of the minor mistakes he is trying to pass as something more sinister (speaking so quickly that Zapruder sounds like Zabroder, and even then referring to the ‘Zapruder films’) only makes him less reliable.

Author Jacob Israel is no better. Radiating youth pastor energy, Israel is a smooth talker who uses a lot of words but has little to say. It is not until the third act when he goes all in on the Bible that he makes his strongest point: The end times are here and all the religions in the world warned everyone. It is almost surprising how much The Mandela Effect Phenomenon feels like a faith-based production until Israel casually mentions he used to work for a Christian television network.

'The Mandela Effect Phenomenon': More infuriating than illuminating

The most disappointing part is there are some interesting moments sprinkled throughout. Aside from a pair of misleading videos attributed to CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), discussions about alternative universes and timelines have potential. Unfortunately, The Mandela Effect Phenomenon has neither the desire or ability to delve too deeply into anything resembling an explanation. By the time it abruptly ends, it is missing structure, meaningful insight, and a tin foil hat.

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