Coherence (2014): Superposition of a dinner party


Eight Friends meet up for a dinner party on the night a huge comet is supposed to be passing by the Earth. Things get stranger and stranger from there on.

James Ward Byrkit’s Coherence is a Sci-Fi film which tries to comprehend Quantum Physics. For beginners, it has to be mentioned beforehand, quantum physics is inherently fuzzy.

A property of the particles in quantum universe is called Superposition. As per the theory, particles don’t exist in one state or the other, but in all of its possible states at once. Its weird, Yes. I should be more clearer, I know. For example once you roll a die, according to quantum theory, the die exists in all its six states simultaneously.

Quantum Superposition


When we observe a quantum object, we affect its behavior. Observation breaks an object’s superposition and the universe is literally duplicated, splitting into one universe for each possible outcome from the measurement. In case of our die… Once the observation is made, the universe splits into as many as the number of possible outcomes. In this case it is six, and within each universe the player has got one of the possible numbers.

Back to our dinner party. The characters introduce themselves and start hanging out. Things are as normal as any regular dinner party with some bitching and some tensions among lead characters. One of the guests, Emily, reveals that her phone cracked while coming here. Another one of them, Hugh, tells her it’s strange because his phone also cracked and that too while coming here. Emily attributes it to the comet passing and she explains that last time comet passed over Finland, people started behaving weird and strange things happened. They laugh it off.

Suddenly, power goes out in the entire neighborhood. Everything starts getting weirder from here. Their phones have lost all signal and the internet is down too. Its complete black-out outside except for one house which seems to be unaffected by this power outage. Two of them head out to the other house to investigate.

*Major Spoilers Ahead*

When they return, one of them looks totally scandalized. He reveals that when he peeked into the other house, he saw themselves having dinner. Themselves… in the other house. Before long, they find notes on door, a briefcase with their own photograph with a number written on the back.  With the help of a book, given to him by his physicist brother, Hugh theorizes that the other house could be from a parallel universe which has collided with ours as the comet is passing by. Some of them go out to fact check for themselves.

Once they are back discussing the ensuing madness, the characters soon find out that the they themselves are not from same universe. Many had lost their way and mixed up together with people from each universe. Shockingly enough, there are not only two of them… but infact many of them in the same space-time. The atmosphere soon becomes that of mistrust and fear. The twists keep coming from then on. Emily, seemingly most logical of them all, refuses to get caught up in ensuing drama and wanders off outside.

It’s a quantum conundrum, as the comet is passing through, universes have collided. And all the possible state of existence of our lead characters is super imposed. Like the outcomes of a die. It will split into their corresponding reality only after the comet has passed. For now, they are stuck in a quantum limbo.

Though, it becomes pretty muddled after a certain point, once you get around it, it leaves you a bit unnerved. Coherence is very well made film and has some compelling performances. This movie deserves a second watch.

Watch Coherence trailer


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