Zoe (film)

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Official release poster
Directed byDrake Doremus
Screenplay byRichard Greenberg
Produced by
  • Drake Doremus
  • Robert George
  • Michael A. Pruss
CinematographyJohn Guleserian
Edited byDouglas Crise
Music byDan Romer
Distributed byAmazon Studios
Release dates
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$401,912[1]

Zoe is a 2018 American romantic science fiction film directed by Drake Doremus and starring Ewan McGregor, Léa Seydoux, Christina Aguilera, Rashida Jones, and Miranda Otto.

The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, 2018. It was released on July 20, 2018, by Amazon Studios.


In the not-too-distant future, the most cutting-edge technology has honed romantic relationships down to a science: A computerized test can determine the likelihood of successful partnership between two individuals, and androids—known as “synthetics”—have been designed as the ideal partners, ones who are completely understanding and will never leave. Zoe (Léa Seydoux) and Cole (Ewan McGregor) work in the research facility responsible for developing this technology. Zoe and Cole are friends but Zoe harbors a crush on him, and is disappointed when she takes the compatibility test and finds out they have a 0% compatibility. When she tells Cole this information, he gently tells her that she is a synthetic.

Synthetics had always been programmed to know they were synthetics, but Zoe was a new model and an experiment to see if a synthetic could pass as a human. Although Zoe has been implanted with false memories that she believed were her own, as in Blade Runner, it’s clear that Zoe is special as she has developed her own feelings. Cole gently takes Zoe into the world with this new self-awareness, seeing her reactions, but also falling in love with her. He is wary of getting physical with her, but they eventually do. Zoe feels that Cole is holding back.

When Zoe is hit by a car, exposing her synthetic intestines, it causes Cole to pull away from Zoe after repairing her. Meanwhile, the AI company has shifted direction to releasing Benysol, a pill which gives the person taking it the feeling of being in love for several blissful hours. It’s a huge success, with people going to Benysol clubs and even hanging out in certain parks to meet partners they take it with. Cole and Zoe clearly miss each other, but they both take Benysol with multiple partners, which only leaves them feeling empty. Cole’s friends encourage him to be with Zoe, even though she’s synthetic, but he can’t do it. One day Zoe visits the AI lab and discovers a room full of Zoes, the next generation of her, Zoe 2.0. She realizes she doesn’t wish to live without Cole and visits the brothel where she asks the owner to shut her down. However, at the last minute she changes her mind and some of the brothel girls take her to her apartment, where Cole finds her and professes his love. She cries, which her model wasn’t supposed to be able to do.



On August 19, 2016, it was announced that Charlie Hunnam and Léa Seydoux would star in the untitled sci-fi romance film, which Drake Doremus would direct from a script by Rich Greenberg who collaborated with Doremus on the Emmy winning web series The Beauty Inside.[2] On October 25, 2016, Stuart Ford's IM Global came on board to fully finance the film, titled Zoe, with Scott Free Productions' Michael Pruss producing along with Doremus and Robert George.[3] By May 2017, Ewan McGregor replaced Hunnam in the film, a supporting cast of Christina Aguilera, Theo James, Rashida Jones, Miranda Otto and Matthew Gray Gubler were added, and a filming start date of May 8 was established, with the filming taking place in Montreal.[4]


The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, 2018.[5][6] Prior to the premiere, Amazon Studios acquired distribution rights to the film in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Australia and New Zealand,[7] while Netflix acquired distribution rights to release the film as a Netflix Original film in Japan[8] and the Benelux.[9] IM Global merged with Open Road Films (who previously co-released Gleason with Amazon[10]) to form Global Road Entertainment.[11]

The film was released on July 20, 2018.[12]


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 32%, based on 25 reviews, and an average rating of 4.3/10. Its consensus states "Zoe has some interesting ideas but never manages to get a satisfying grip on them, settling for slow-moving sci-fi that ultimately fails to engage."[13] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[14] Morgan Rojas of Cinemacy believed that "the performances from McGregor and Seydoux are equally raw and vulnerable", and that Aguilera added a "star power" to the film.[15] Common Sense Media editor Andrea Beach praised the movie for the two leading performances and additional work by "talented supporters—Rashida Jones, Miranda Otto, and Christina Aguilera".[16]


  1. ^ "Zoe". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  2. ^ Ford, Rebecca (August 19, 2016). "Charlie Hunnam, Lea Seydoux to Star in Drake Doremus' Next Film (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  3. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (October 25, 2016). "IM Global Boards Drake Doremus' Love Story 'Zoe,' Starring Charlie Hunnam & Léa Seydoux". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (May 1, 2017). "Christina Aguilera, Theo James, Rashida Jones Join Sci-Fi Romance 'Zoe'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Raup, Jordan (March 7, 2018). "Tribeca 2018 Lineup Includes 'Disobedience,' 'The Miseducation of Cameron Post,' 'The Seagull,' and More". The Film Stage. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  6. ^ "Zoe". Tribeca Film Festival. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  7. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 20, 2018). "Amazon Prime Picks Up Drake Doremus Futuristic Love Story 'Zoe' – Tribeca". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  8. ^ Netflix Japan, 『ホンモノの気持ち』予告編 - Netflix, retrieved 2018-07-15
  9. ^ Netflix Japan, Zoe Officiële trailer Netflix, retrieved 2018-07-15
  10. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 28, 2016). "Amazon Buys 'Gleason' Documentary, Open Road To Release In Theaters This Summer: Sundance". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  11. ^ McNary, Dave (October 30, 2017). "IM Global, Open Road Owner Tang Media Rebrands as Global Road Entertainment". Variety. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  12. ^ News Desk, TV (June 21, 2018). "Amazon Prime Video to Exclusively Launch ZOE Starring Ewan McGregor and Lea Seydoux on July 20". Broadway World. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  13. ^ "Zoe (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  14. ^ "Zoe Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  15. ^ Rojas, Morgan (July 24, 2018). "'Zoe' Review: The Meaning of Love, Explored". Cinemacy. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  16. ^ Beach, Andrea. "Zoe (2018) Movie Review". Common Sense Media. Retrieved December 7, 2020.

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