DETROIT -

The word "if" can be a strong word. What IF we weren't alone in the universe? What IF there really is a God? What IF humans are all connected, even without bloodlines?

In the new indie flick "I Origins," director Mike Cahill (Another Earth) explores these incredibly complicated questions. The movie, starring Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire, The Village) and Brit Marling, walks the fine line between faith and science. Dr. Ian Gray (Pitt) is a biologist with a strong fascination for the human eye, which is why his research centers around finding proof of the evolution of the eye. This research would, as a side note, put a rest to the "intelligent design" crowd's argument that the eye is too complicated to have been a product of evolution.

Ian meets a girl named Sofi (Astrid Bergés-Frisbey), a French model with faith based beliefs, in other words, the complete opposite of Ian. Ian and Sofi fall in love, but their fast moving relationship ends tragically. Years later, Ian is married to his lab partner, Karen (Brit Marling), when the scientists find information that could change everything.

They find that more than two people can carry the same exact iris pattern -- previously thought to be impossible. This discovery changes the mindset, if only for a moment, of these scientists, who for as long as we've known them have denied any existence of a supernatural being. Ian sets out to see if there is a link between the two.

"I Origins" is a thought-provoking film that suggests challenging your faith in higher powers or science might be healthy. The first half of the film is about love and its travails, the second half brings the match of faith vs. proof back, front and center.

It's the third part of the movie that will make you think about life's unanswerable mysteries. How and why are we here?! The most unfulfilling part of the movie is realizing it's a fantasy -- and that we still have no answers. But hey, what if?

"I Origins" opens at the Main Art Theater in Royal Oak on August 8th.

RATING: 4.5 out of 5