LOLA increasingly concocts a sense of hopelessness and despair as the movie progresses toward the end. Tragedy befalls in almost every scene. Britain, and even the whole of Europe, is thrust into a dark era where the focus is on an armament race, and the reinvigorating music of David Bowie and Bob Dylan is replaced by the “sound of marching feet.”
The catastrophic domino effects resulted from Thomasina’s need for the greater good. She orchestrates an attack on the German U-boats at the cost of 2000 American lives on the SS Abraham Lincoln civilian ship, resulting in the USA turning antagonistic towards the English. Furthermore, the all-knowing, egoistic Thoma falls for a bogus report that makes Britain fall to its knees.
With its documentary-style black-and-white footage film, LOLA blurs the lines between good and evil at a time when wars ran rampant. A dystopian world arises from tragic consequences. The movie does have a happy ending, though, with Martha being able to reverse time in a sense.
How LOLA set up a dystopian world for the Hanbury sisters
Nazi Germany capitalizes on the trap set up for Thoma by capturing Dover and launches a full-scale invasion. Major Cobcroft uses Thomasina and Martha as scapegoats to pacify the masses and brands them Nazi double agents. They are sentenced to death but in a stroke of luck, Martha is able to escape due to a distraction caused by air raids.
The movie then captures some horrifying events during the German invasion. Big Ben is destroyed, major cities and ports bombarded, and the defeat of the English was depicted with a Nazi flag flapping high on a mast. Years later, Martha and Sebastian are seen living in a hideout shelter with their son, Leo. The camera then focuses on the television news, which reveals that Britain had turned to fascism under the leadership of a dictator named Moseley.
Crimes had been put to a stop, the stock market boomed, Winston Churchill was arrested and the British/German army aimed for European domination. Ironically, Thomasina is freed by the German regime and becomes the most celebrated scientist. Martha comes to know that her sister is alive when she sees her on the television. She concocts a plan to retrieve her from Nazi hands but miserably fails and ends up losing her husband.
What does LOLA predict for Adolf Hitler’s regime?
Andrew Legge gives his film an even darker tone by allowing viewers to witness a future under the reign of the Reich via LOLA. When Adolf Hitler meets Thom to witness the device’s powers for the first time, three flabbergasting events are shown. First, the USA accepts Socialism, and the SS officers cheer at the prospect. Second, German and British scientists developed the atomic bomb, and a devilish glimmer is seen in Hitler’s eyes.
The third scene shows an “unhinged” Martha failing to assassinate the Fuhrer with a bomb. She was arrested and hanged to death. Thomasina makes a dash to save her sister, but Death/Fate is bent on taking a life that day, and Martha loses Thoma to the bullets shot by the guards. The ending scenes are painful to witness, but almost like the ending of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, there is a twist at the end.
Martha and Thoma manage to save a different world in LOLA
LOLA ends with Martha featuring in a self-shot documentary warning Thomasina about the consequences of their actions in the future. Note that she made the movie after losing everyone close to her. Mars hoped that the footage would be obtained by a young Thomasina and she would do the opposite of what they had done.
The other timeline that Martha Hanbury spoke of turned out to be the one we are living in; the one where the Nazi regime was defeated by the Allied Powers. LOLA ends with notes appearing on the screen that no such machine was found in the Hanbury residence. Adding to the intensely mysterious and dramatic scene is a picture of Thomasina and Martha celebrating the end of World War II.
Two conclusions can be made from the sequence. The LOLA device made Thoma and Mars witness the catastrophes that awaited them and they destroyed the device. Viewers were only shown the events as they appeared on LOLA. A much more plausible conclusion is that the two sisters from a different timeline got hold of the documentary and destroyed the device.
The image of the Hanbury sisters celebrating Germany’s defeat featured a frowning Thoma along with a cheerful Martha. Thomasina’s need to create a perfect society with no evils had multiple adverse effects. As it turns out, Martha, the dreamer, was the wiser one among the two.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
We highly recommend watching LOLA to those who are fans of the historical fantasy genre and the ones who don’t mind obtrusive camera angles. It is a short ‘What If’ film that sticks to the themes while also avoiding unnecessary scenes for the sake of a lengthier screen time.
The plight of Thomasina (Emma Appleton) and Martha (Stefanie Martini) evokes a catharsis. However, there is no time to sympathize with the characters as the events turn worse one after the other. Newspaper clippings and radio are often used to portray a sense of antiquity in the film, and fighter airplanes highlight the Jet Age of the 1940s.
An amalgamation of the found-footage genre with historical sci-fi is difficult to execute since it has never been experimented with in the past. Somehow, Andrew Legge manages to create a beautiful story out of it.