Omni Loop // A SXSW 2024 Review

Many of us have moments we would like to relive. Whether they are a great memory we wish we could spend more time in, or something we wish we could change in our pasts. Lots of us would probably jump at the chance to time travel. Which is why this is a very popular subgenre of science fiction. This also makes the protagonist of writer/director Bernardo Britto’s Omni Loop instantly relatable.

Omni Loop follows Zoya Lowe, a 55-year-old woman with a black hole inside her chest. She has a week to live but has the means to restart the week to live it over again…and again. After repeating her final week on Earth countless times, Zoya meets Paula. Paula goes to the local university and is the only person who might be able to help Zoya break her loop, to go further back in time to change the course of her life. As the two get closer, it becomes clear that Paula also has a personal reason for wanting to go back in time.

Mary Louise And Ayo Deliver

I was looking forward to this title because I saw Mary Louise Parker and Ayo Edebiri listed in the cast. I love them both and never dreamed they’d end up working together in an indie sci-fi drama. They both shine in this film (as they do all of their other projects), and fans of both will be pleased. The relationship between Paula (Edebiri) and Zoya (Parker) is one of the things working in this movie’s favor. Watching Zoya catch Paula up on their history every time the cycle repeats itself, and then watching them continue bonding from there, keeps the loop from getting stale.

After all they are two women in STEM played by two of the most delightful actors to grace our TVs this millennium. They also introduce us to interesting parts of the lore that Britto has crafted. I wish more of these side quirks could have been given more time. Britto has built such a fun and casually bizarre world that it is a crime Omni Loop does not make time to explore it. The duo has an easy chemistry that allows them to both shine in their respective lanes. The movie overall is lighter fare than I was hoping for. Although, I must admit it was cool to see them being two brilliant women trying to crack time travel. Because the bulk of the film is spent with them, it’s hard to not be charmed into thinking you are having a great time watching this film.

The Moral Of The Story

While Zoya and Paula are the focus of the film, Zoya’s family is what she needs to learn to cherish. The movie sets it up that because Zoya is at the end of her life, and thinking of all the things that could have been, she’s lost interest in her small family. After all, she has been reliving her last week with them on repeat for so long it has become a chore. She knows what they are going to say, and knows how they are going to surprise her. She’s more interested in what this last week would look like if she had made different choices earlier in life.Omni Loop wears its heart on its sleeve, so it is not a surprise when Zoya realizes being present in the moment is what matters.

So of course, she gives her time-warping pills to Paula and makes peace with saying a real goodbye to her family. This is what her character arc needed so that she can finally move on. Because it is when she is truly appreciative of what she has that she can cherish the life she lived. The family she made along the way was the real prize. It is a cute story, so I had to check my cynicism when the obvious ending rolled around. I am not a fan of predictable stories driving toward a wholesome endgame. Although, I do see how this is a refreshing change of pace for many other people. I wanted the science and mystery behind Zoya’s magic pills to be more front and center. However, I know some people will dig this feel-good messaging of being present with loved ones being what really matters.