Ageing composer Tom Whitman (Francais X. McCarthy) is taken to the hospital after falling into a coma which sends him into a rather dark and disturbing childhood fantasy as he tries to make his way through his memories as now his former 10 year old self (Quinn Lord). Tom has been a long sufferer of dementia and his health is deteriorating rapidly. His daughter, Gem (Marianne Farley) decides to let his life support machine be turned off when the time is right. Gem and Tom had a very difficult relationship through the years as he was almost a stranger to her before entering into his beginning stages of dementia and forgetting her all together – something she just can’t help but hate him for. When an old friend of Tom’s, Ann (Joanna Noyes) turns up, Gem might finally discover the dark truth about her father’s past. Meanwhile it’s up to young Tom to make it through his hazy memories to remember the thing most important to him in this world while battling his past and a slightly psychotic snowman, Mr. White (Ikka Villi).
At first, this felt like a film which would have a lot more promise than you what you’re ultimately left with. The allure of a possible sweet adventure film soon fizzles out and you begin to see all the potential disappear magically. While at times Imaginaerum highlights fantasy filmmaking at its best, with some quite wonderful sets and scenes that mix live action with animation, it’s let down by its storyline and acting. Not one of the actors leave remarkable or memorable performances, while at times you’ll find yourself irritated by the annoyance of young Tom and the stale, plain dialogue that the poor young actor Quinn Lord has to work with. The film also has a large role for metal band Nightwish (with a fantastic Lucius Malfoy look-alike in the band), who’s music accompanies the film, but it gets to the point where you wish they weren’t, as they don’t add anything to it and at times contribute to the every-continuing frustration that you’ll find building up.
Imaginaerum is let down by the fact it’s a missed opportunity to be something sweeter and more fantastical. There was a real potential to turn the topic of dementia into something more inspiring and happy-endingy, but the film fails to go this way, and stutters for the better part of the last 40 minutes trying to decide what sort of story it’s actually trying to tell. The acting is low-budget and emotionless which doesn’t help the cause and by the end of the film you’re just glad it’s over.
Rating: A real let down by a film that had so much more to offer (4/10).