A treat for the people falling into the intersection of the universes of Heinlein purists and Film buffs…

…which has to be most narrowly defined Hollywood demographic in the Predestination_posterhistory of Tinsel Town.

Nonetheless, I was surprised – nay, shocked! – to run across this flick the other night, which stars Ethan Hawke, who seems to be carving out a niche in genre movies – Predestination.

About two minutes in, I started to recognize lines from Robert Heinlein’s “All You Zombies” – perhaps, the first and greatest time-travel paradox stories – so I checked IMDB and – lo and behold – it was based on “All You Zombies….”

To quote from my Amazon review:

If you are a fan of Robert Heinlein, then you will love this movie. It is based – and stays extremely close to – Heinlein’s classic story “All You Zombies.” I tumbled to the connection in the first few minutes when some of Heinlein’s lines were showing up in the movie, but when one character introduced himself as the “unmarried mother,” I knew I had to check IMDB. Heinlein purists will love this movie. There are lines right out of the story, and the background has things from the story, such as a jukebox playing “I’m my own Grandpa.” There also all sorts of clever “tells” planted in the movie, which you will spot if you know the story.

The movie does extend the story, but not in a way that hurts the message or plot. In fact, the extension is necessary to round out the story from the standpoint of fitting a Hollywood checklist for plot closure (the story being famous for not having closure.)

I am not sure that anyone will be surprised by the plot turns, but, then, I read the story a half dozen times before I graduated from high school.

The actors sell their roles. Ethan Hawke comes across as an experienced agent, and Sarah Snook delivered on her roles as well as one might expect for such a pretty and feminine lady.

 

Something like 90% of the movie is the Heinlein story, up to and including how a central character attempts to join the Space force….in 1962, so we are clearly in alternate history territory, which must have been jarring for civilians, i.e., non-science fiction readers.

The movie adds about 10% that extends the Heinlein original, but not in a way that I found distracting or unfaithful.

I recommend reading the Heinlein short story before watching this flick so that you can appreciate how Heinlein’s concepts translate to a different medium.  Also, the story might have too much of a “WTF?” effect if the viewer goes into it cold, albeit I wouldn’t know.

This is a surprising gem that is worth burning a couple of hours on a slow weekend.