I Origins

  • Review Date: July 18, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Heartfelt sci-fi has interesting ideas, some language, sex.
  • Review Date: July 18, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 113 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

This science-fiction story is fascinated by various ideas about eyes containing part of the human soul, and, on the other side, the idea that if eyes evolved throughout creation, then it proves the non-existence of God. Though the movie certainly doesn't prove anything one way or another, it could open up some metaphysical, spiritual, and supernatural discussions.

Positive role models

Though role models aren't the point of this story, the main character is a scientist driven to find answers, though he still takes time to acknowledge his loved ones. The movie depicts some fairly healthy and strong romantic relationships.


A character is sliced in half by a broken elevator. Most of this takes place off camera, but blood is shown, and a dead body is shown. A character gets formaldehyde splashed in his eyes. A character gets angry and trashes his apartment, throwing furniture and objects around. A character injects himself with a needle.


A woman seduces a man and has sex with him on a toilet; no nudity is shown, and the act is over fairly quickly. Later, they become a couple and are shown kissing and having sex on other occasions. A woman is shown topless. A man masturbates to a video on his computer (the sensitive material is kept below the frame). His girlfriend catches him but asks him not to stop; she wants to know what turns him on. The main character has two partners, but only because the first one passes away.


Language isn't frequent but includes more than one use of "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "bitch," and "piss." A middle finger gesture is shown.


Mentos candies are mentioned by name and become a thematic device. Ben & Jerry's "Chunky Monkey" ice cream is shown. Lancome perfume is shown.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adult characters drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes at a party. The main character smokes several cigarettes. Characters are shown drinking at a bar and drinking beer casually. A lab partner drinks a little too much vodka. He's shown drinking, and another character remarks that he "stinks of vodka."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that I Origins is a science-fiction romance that raises some fairly heady spiritual, supernatural, and metaphysical ideas, though it does so in a simple, heartfelt way. A character dies in a fairly gruesome way, and some blood is shown, though much of the gore is kept off screen. Formaldehyde is accidentally splashed in a character's eyes, and characters get angry and throw fits. Couples kiss and have sex, and there's a brief scene of female toplessness. Language isn't frequent but does include more than one use of "f--k" and "s--t." A main character smokes cigarettes, and characters drink on several occasions. One supporting character is called on his excessive vodka drinking. Some brand names (Mentos candy, Lancome perfume, etc.) are mentioned and become thematic devices.

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What's the story?

Molecular biologist Dr. Ian Gray (Michael Pitt), whose hobby is photographing people's eyes, and his new lab partner, Karen (Brit Marling), are studying the evolution of the eye. They find an origin species with no eyesight at all, a worm, and start from scratch. Meanwhile, Ian meets his dream girl, Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisbey). But after he loses her to an accident, his computer database of eyes shows a shocking discovery: Certain eye patterns appear to be re-used, passed on from person to person after death. Ian travels to India to track down the new owner of Sofi's eyes, to see if any part of her soul remained behind. The answer to that question could change everything.

Is it any good?


Director Mike Cahill made his feature debut with Another Earth (2011), which was written by the brilliant, talented Marling. And while she appears here in a supporting actor capacity, it appears that Cahill may do better under more robust guidance from her. I ORIGINS is a bit too long and repetitive and a little too generous with its eye-related imagery. Cahill seems to be playing coy with all these eye references, but they aren't subtle enough to really surprise or challenge.

The movie is more romantic than scientific, and it seems eager to accept a supernatural solution when it should place that burden in the audience's hands. Yet, these days, any sci-fi movie with the barest hint of a science-related idea is a welcome rarity. And above all, I ORIGINS is certainly thoughtful and deeply heartfelt, and it could be hard for dreamers and romantics not to get swept up in the love story. For many viewers, it will be a satisfying experience.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the use of sex in I Origins. How much is there? How does it figure into the story? Does it seem necessary or gratuitous?

  • Why do these characters drink and smoke so much? Does it seem to interfere with their studies or their lives?

  • Does the movie seem to believe in science or in the idea of a spiritual/supernatural world? What's the difference? Is it possible for both to exist at the same time?

  • The symbol of the eye comes up quite frequently in this movie. How many times, and in what ways are eyes referenced? How many ways do you use your eyes -- or the eyes of others -- in real life?

  • What does "the eyes are the window to the soul" mean?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 18, 2014
DVD release date:December 9, 2014
Cast:Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Berges-Frisbey
Director:Mike Cahill (II)
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:113 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some sexuality/nudity, and language

This review of I Origins was written by

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Adult Written byhananurrehman January 7, 2015

Pointless film

It is absolutely pointless Just to make their film popular they've inserted it with a first hour of p***ography Could've found a better way to explain a scientific point
What other families should know
Too much sex


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