Conceiving Ada

Rated 1.0 An MIT computer programmer (Franchesca Faridany) develops a virtual reality program that allows her to re-create the past. Using her PC, she is able to interface with Ada Lovelace (Tilda Swinton), the daughter of Lord Byron and a 19th century mathematical genius in her own right. Writer/director Lynn Hershman Leeson deserves credit for several things: for an offbeat concept, part computer-nerd sci-fi fantasy, part sisterhood bonding fable; for rediscovering a neglected woman in history; and for the innovation of creating her Victorian-era sets entirely on a computer. But the film is disheveled and cheap-looking. Leeson’s characters speak either in trite feminist slogans or in fitful outbursts that sound self-consciously improvised. Past and present are equally two-dimensional and unconvincing.