Sundance 2024 Film Review: Love Machina

Director Peter Sillen’s documentary Love Machina tells the story of Martine and Bina Rothblatt, who commissioned Bina48, a robotic head they hope will house Bina’s consciousness—one step toward making their love truly eternal.

Love Machina covers the intricacies of the project, and it’s as complex as it sounds.

Of course, Martine and Bina are complex people:

Over more than 40 years of marriage, they have adopted each others’ children and had two more in their mixed-race Jewish family, and Martine came out as a trans woman. Amongst Martine’s business ventures, she created SiriusXM Satellite Radio and became a leader in the pharmaceutical industry, even creating a medication for people, like the couple’s daughter Jenesis, with pulmonary hypertension. Martine is also a helicopter pilot and flutist. Bina, who was a realtor in Compton, Calif., enjoys woodworking and gardening. They are sci-fi nerds and were inspired by author Octavia Butler’s fictitious Earthseed religion to found the Terasem Movement, which promotes life extension through technology. One aspect of Terasem discussed in the film is lifenaut.com, which allows users to digitize their minds, through a MindFile that catalogs their personal reflections and experiences, and genetic code.

There’s more. We meet Bruce Duncan, who presents Bina48 on the road, receiving feedback on her human-like responses and whether or not she is adequately portraying a Black woman. We see Bina48 go through upgrades and become linked with ChatGPT, and we learn about plans to extend the AI’s body.

Like human consciousness, the film has many layers—not all mentioned in this review.

The meme with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Charlie Kelly in front of a bulletin board covered with red string comes to mind when describing it. The most important aspect is technology may be the next step in human evolution, and maybe, love. While there is a lot of info to take in, the film covers all of it in fascinating detail.

Love Machina is in the U.S. Documentary Competition.

UPCOMING SCREENINGS:

Jan. 23, 12:30 p.m., The Ray Theatre, Park City 
Jan. 26, 4 p.m., Holiday Village Cinemas, Park City


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Jaime Winston
Jaime Winstonhttp://www.saltlakemagazine.com
Jaime is a contributing writer for Salt Lake magazine. Formerly, he served as our editorial intern, then as our assistant web editor, and, finally, as our web editor. While he covers many different topics, he is especially interested in nerdy entertainment, from FanX's artist alley to Sundance's Midnight screenings.

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