There are some movies in the world that are perhaps meant to be misunderstood or so interestingly odd that you really don’t know what to make of it after watching. Molly’s Theory of Relativity is one of these movies. The film starts off bizarrely and keeps the odd momentum of strangeness going until the very end. There’s no real emotion, no connection to any of the characters, and it all seems interestingly surreal.
Molly (Sophia Takal) and her husband Zak (Lawrence Michael Levine) are all set to go to Norway, a big decision that neither of them have thought through. The film takes place in one day, which is an interesting choice given the aspect of the film. Director Jeff Lipsky strikes an odd chord, the film caught between the throes of a bizarre and brow-raising dream.
The story begins with Zak and Molly getting into a pretty heavy argument with Zak’s dad Asher (Reed Birney) over his will and his inheritance, or lack thereof. During the fight, Zak admits that Molly has lost her job as an astrophysicist for reasons that are really unclear. Things get stranger after that as we’re treated to a lot of explicit nakedness and conversations between Zak and Molly that range from one extreme to the next.
Before we know it, three other people are in the apartment without ever having knocked. You know they aren't there before, but you don’t dwell on that aspect because they’re Molly’s family and everything else that’s going on seems much stranger. Eventually, their apartment houses an overly smart girl named Ruby (Daisy Tahan), who is dressed as Einstein, and their young next door neighbor Chet (Nicholas Lampiasi). Molly’s grandmother, grandfather, and mother are also there, but they never really interact with anyone but Molly.
Lipsky writes and directs the film without any real direction, or at least not in a direction anyone can quite comprehend. His characters are flat and there’s no connection between them and the audience. The entire film is made up of exposition and the characters dishing out heart to hearts at every turn. And yes, it’s all maybe supposed to mean something and possibly be a bit profound. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to mean anything and is instead a mind boggling waste of an hour and a half.
There are no real redeeming qualities about the film except for when Molly begins ranting about her work in science. About halfway through you do get the sense that this may all be a dream. Are these people Zak and Molly interact with real or imaginary? By the end of the film, this question is never answered and left for you to figure out on your own. Although you might be so happy the film is over that you won’t really care at that point anyway.
Lipsky may have been trying to send us a message, but it somehow gets lost in a mess of a script that may have had some sort of potential if it’d been done differently. The scenes sometimes feel disoriented and a lot of the film’s events make you wonder what the hell is actually going on, and not in a good way. After the credits roll, you’ll wonder what the Theory of Relativity and Molly really have to do with one another.