We meet a family — there's the daughter (Sam), the mother (Claire), and the father (Brendan), who does video game coding.
Sam is enjoying the beach, running around with her Curious George doll. There's a quick Mandela effect referenced right off the bat because Curious George doesn't have a tail, but some folks remember him having one.
OK, they immediately lay it on thick with the popular Mandela effect examples. We see the family playing Monopoly and Rich Uncle Pennybags is wearing a monocle (which he doesn't). We see the family watching Star Wars:
The Empire Strikes Back and Darth Vader says, "Luke, I am your father" (which he didn't). Then, we see Brendan and Sam reading The Berenstein Bears (which is actually The Berenstain Bears).
Sam's Curious George doll gets swept into the water. She goes to retrieve it, and we jump to a funeral where we learn that she died. Her parents are a wreck.
We meet Matt, Claire's brother/Brendan's brother-in-law.
(Here's a crazy Mandela effect example — in the world I'm from, I remember Matt being a guy named Will on the Netflix series You. WILD, huh?)
While going through his daughter's belongings, Brendan notices that "Berenstain" isn't spelled "Berenstein" as he remembers it. There's even some soft ambient music to let you know something is afoot.
So Brendan asks Matt, "Yo, remember the children's books about the family of bears?"
Of course Matt remembers.
So Brendan whips out the book and is like, "LOOK HOW IT'S SPELLED, MATT."
Matt is just kinda like, "Oh whoops, I misremembered it. How funny." But Brendan is still curious.
So, Brendan stayed up all damn night searching the internet for more Berenstain/Berenstein info. I feel like this man needs to just watch a Shane Dawson video to get his conspiracy fix and move on with his life.
The next morning, Brendan is still on edge. He believes he notices that one of their family photos taken in Los Angeles was actually supposed to be from when they were in Seattle.
Brendan believes the photo was taken in front of the Pacific Science Center, not Griffith Observatory.
Brendan is giving off big this meme energy:
Brendan goes back to the Google, and HEY LOOK AT THAT, in the search results is this article I wrote a few years back.
After reading through more Mandela effect examples, Brendan asks Matt how he could explain any of this. Matt's like, "Eh, false memories," but Brendan is like, "I SAW IT ON REDDIT, MAN. IT'S GOT TO BE REAL."
Matt continues trying to tell Brendan our brains can't remember everything perfectly, Brendan continues searching Google for theories, and he has none of the chill, so now he's at the dinner table bugging Claire about Mandela effects.
Claire believes the Monopoly Man has a monocle, so Brendan has her check the box and she realizes he doesn't. Like most people, she calls it weird but isn't mind blown.
Brendan finds videos of a man named Dr. Fuchs, who has theories about us living in a simulation. Brendan tracks down Dr. Fuchs to talk with him in person.
Brendan eventually convinces Dr. Fuchs to let him use a super fancy quantum computer to access the simulation we're allegedly living in.
Before he has the chance to use the quantum computer, some douche who is in charge of that area interrupts and kicks them out of the lab.
That night, Brendan has a vision of Sam looking all glitchy and calling for him before disappearing. He also momentarily sees his daughter the following morning, but again she disappears.
Brendan begins working on some sort of coding and he explains what he's doing, but it's like a foreign language. All I know is that he wants to run this code on the quantum computer.
AGAIN, Brendan sees Sam in the middle of the night. This time she gets in her parents' bed after having a nightmare.
To Brendan's surprise, Sam is still there in the morning. All is well, his family is happy, it's like his daughter never left. It appears that his coding magic somehow brought his daughter back.
Brendan is grateful Sam is there and things are like they were before. They enjoy the day, and he reads to her before bed.
THINGS COULDN'T BE HAPPY FOR LONGER THAN TWO MINUTES. That night, Claire has some sort of episode, but Brendan reels her back to bed.
The next day, Claire is still not herself. She has another episode while the family is doing one of those dish painting classes. She cusses at Brendan and begins breaking glasses.
They go back home and Claire is still a tad hostile, yelling at Sam that she shouldn't be there.
Brendan's like, "Hmm, my wife isn't normal ever since I started fucking with things," so he goes to see Dr. Fuchs, but learns that he hung himself a couple months ago.
The next day, Brendan goes to the campus to use his coding on the quantum computer. The douche in charge of the area tries to snitch on him, but Brendan accidentally slams the dude on the back of his dome, killing him.
Brendan enters his code and gets shit poppin'. The computer starts making concerning sounds, so Brendan wisely bounces.
On his way home, Brendan gets a call from Claire, who is freaking out. She says she keeps having visions of herself every time she closes her eyes.
THEN EVERYTHING GETS GLITCHY. First it's this woman on the bus.
Next, it's this kissing couple.
Then it's the color-changing trees and the car passing by as Brendan runs home.
When Brendan arrives home, he sees Claire glitch out big style as she lets out a scream. I'm uncomfortable!
Finally, everything around the family is glitching. They stand together as planets in the sky explode and everything begins to disappear until there's nothing but black.
The family is seen back at the beach, just as they were at the start of the movie.
Sam goes to play in the water with her Curious George doll, which DOESN'T HAVE A TAIL like it did at the start of the movie.
Brendan tells her to leave the George doll behind, which was the cause of her drowning originally. Then sadly, it's END CREDITS.
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