Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Julie Bruns, Matthew Kevin Anderson, Hanneke Talbot
Steven Kammerer
Julie Bruns, Steven Kammerer
18 Mins.

 Movie Review: Ada 
Add to favorites

The true story of Ada Lovelace comes to life in Steven Kammerer's dramatic short film Ada, an award-winning 18-minute look at the woman who could have and probably should have created the world's first computer all the way back in the 1840s. It wouldn't be until 100 years later when an arguably better known Alan Turing would use Ada's notes as one of his inspirations in finally developing what is now known as the first computer. 

Released on multiple streaming platforms in time for International Women's Month, Ada stars Julie Bruns, who also co-writes alongside Kammerer, as Ada. Ada highlights the untimely end of Ada's life as she races against time to raise the funds to build what would have been the world's first computer (powered by steam!). Lovelace had a brilliant vision of what computers would mean to the world, a vision that has largely panned out. Her notes, essentially the world's first computer program, served as one of Turing's inspirations and continue to provide inspiration to this day. 

There are little details of authenticity to note about the film - from little details about Ada and those around her to Bruns wearing a period-specific corset in the film and authentic 1850s glasses used in the film's dinner party scene. Indeed, it's abundantly clear that the goal was to present a historically accurate, compelling dramatic film. 

There's a not so subtle tension throughout the film, an appropriate grimness given the intensity of its subject matter. Bruns is emotionally resonant as Ada, an intelligent woman who appears to not suffer fools well and who clearly struggles with obvious cultural and other biases serving as obstacles to accomplishing her mission. Matthew Kevin Anderson also shines throughout Ada and Hanneke Talbot is also impressive as Mary. 

Original music by Sean William is particularly strong in capturing both time and place and the film's emotional rhythms. Wai Sun Cheng lenses the film with an emotional gravitas that captures the power of the story and the gravity of the loss upon Ada's untimely passing. 

While Lovelace's story is not completely unknown, it's an underappreciated story that comes to life nicely here and is a film to look for on Shorts.TV and/or Reel Women's Network among others. With a powerful story accurately told, Ada is an engaging and meaningful short film. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic