Movie Review: ‘I Origins’ Opens Your Eyes To A Whole New World (Aladdin Style)


Preston Barta // Film Critic

I ORIGINS | 113 min. | Rated R | Director: Mike Cahill | Stars: Michael Pitt, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Brit Marling, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi, Venida Evans, Cara Seymour, Rhonda Ayers and William Mapother

Rating: 3.5/4

Mike Cahill’s ANOTHER EARTH (2011) follow-up, I ORIGINS is one of the finest films of the year. It explores themes and ideas that cause us to reflect and think about life in a whole new way. No matter how much trust we have in science or fate, this film successfully brings our attention to the complexity of our physical structure, which we rarely recognize.

Science vs spirituality is the main theme here. Michael Pitt (BOARDWALK EMPIRE) plays molecular biologist Ian Gray, who is working diligently to prove that the evolution of the eye is the scientific proof discrediting creationism and spirituality. However, Ian’s view of life is challenged when he meets the free-spirited Sofi (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES).

Like Cahill’s ANOTHER EARTH, I ORIGINS probes profound questions about the human existence. It’s a beautifully shot (there are two stinging shots that come to mind; you’ll know it when you see them) and extremely well-acted film, especially Pitt and Bergès-Frisbey. I ORIGINS is quite the trip that will take you around the world, but it also will have you thinking for days and wondering how you would handle “the one that got away.”

P.S. The less you know about this film the better. DO NOT watch the spoiling trailer (my interview cuts all the spoilers).

We had the chance to sit down and talk to the film’s writer-director, Cahill, and his leading star, Pitt, about movies that have left them feeling changed and their perspective of the film business.

I ORIGINS opens on July 25.

Michael Pitt ('Ian') and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey ('Sofi') star in Mike Cahill's metaphysical thriller "I Origins." Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Michael Pitt (‘Ian’) and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (‘Sofi’) star in Mike Cahill’s metaphysical thriller “I Origins.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.