Writer-director-producer Darren Paul Fisher’s Frequencies is set in a parallel universe where a person’s frequency determines his destiny. In this place, frequency is directly proportional to intelligence and luck but is inversely proportional to empathy.
At first look, it is a story of an unfortunate boy and a perfect girl, and how the boy defies all common sense and logic to be with the girl he loves. But it is more than that.
When the scientific gods showered the universe with the gift of frequency, female protagonist Marie-Curie Fortune (Eleanor Wyld), was probably at the rooftop of their prodigious abode. Tests show that she has the highest frequency known to man, which makes her an intellectual goddess among geniuses. Her unparalleled intelligence and exceptional luck have one downside, she cannot feel any emotion so much so that she has to fake smiles, laughter, frowns or cries. The male protagonist, Isaac-Newton Midgeley or Zak (Daniel Fraser), is Marie’s antipode. He also scores a rare number, but in the negative end.
Zak and Marie attend the same school whose mantra says “knowledge determines destiny”. At this point, Marie’s future looks as bright as the star Sirius. Zak is encouraged to continue his education elsewhere, but he is adamant to stay. His resolve to continue at the school for gifted children is not to prove that he belongs there but to be close to Marie.
The disparity between their frequencies means that they are not compatible because they repel each other’s forces. To make matters worse, the longer they stay within each other’s personal space, the higher the risk Mother Nature will turn crazy and endanger the whole world. If this is not the greatest obstacle a lovestruck boy can face, I do not know what is.
They say the heart wants what the heart wants. Zak proves this statement true when he permits himself to be used by Marie in her experiments. They talk for one minute and five seconds every year, as this is the maximum period they can be in the proximity of one another. For Marie, it starts out to satisfy her curiosity regarding the anomaly between her and Zak. For Zak, it is mainly to be with the girl of his dreams. The passage of time as shown by the short dates is labeled “Experiment (insert number here)” instead of one long elaborate scene. In each experiment/date hybrid, Marie has a constant companion – her notebook – where she jots down scientific breakthroughs.
Unbeknownst to Marie, Zak commits himself to finding the solution to his problem from the day he officially met Marie. He may not be a prodigy like her, but his genius-level intelligence, desire to be close to his ladylove and with the aid of close friend Theodor-Adorno Strauss (Owen Pugh), Zak slowly improves his fortune.
Years after they leave school, he finally succeeds in increasing his frequency level to talk to Marie longer than 65 seconds without cataclysmic results. Intrigued, Marie allows herself to be touched by Zak. Their first touch snowballs into something more intimate, with Marie acting like the know-it-all savant that she is and Zak as the fumbling boy in grade school.
After their first night together, Zak’s and Marie’s lives change. Zak finds out the contents of Marie’s notebook, which surprises him a bit (and I thought “what was all that writing about?”). Zak gets lucky (in more ways than one) while Marie loses her perfection and experiences what normal frequency-people experience on a daily basis – wait for trains. She finds out that hanging out with Zak lowers her luck, but she accepts this with open arms. What is a small decrease in frequency in exchange of a full range of emotions?
Their love story comes to a screeching halt when authorities start questioning Zak’s motives. This is where politics, philosophy and music enrich the already enviable mixture of romance and science fiction. Theodor’s father takes the center stage to explain the phenomenon and the role of music in cancelling the repulsion between high and low frequencies. I thought the film would end here, but no. There is more. The most important twist unravels in the last 15 minutes of the movie, and you have to watch it to find out. 🙂
Frequencies is a streamlined movie – no dialogue, character or event is superfluous or out of place. The conversations are uncomplicated, including the scientific explanations. The three points of view add layers of surprises to an otherwise straightforward story. As the movie shows the events from one point of view to the next, the story becomes clearer and gains new depth. For a science fiction movie, it lacks grandiose universes with scary creatures and super advanced technologies, but the stimulating story more than makes up for the absence of computer generated images.
- I love the use of scientists’ names as the characters’ first names. I just wish that Schrödinger’s cat had a cameo.
- At the heart of the film, it looks like a Filipino telenovela. Change low or negative frequency to poverty and high frequency to wealth and political power and we have the recipe for a successful albeit formulaic TV show.