Movie #94 2021: Time (2020)

Phew. When I watched this, I had no idea that it would become part of the Oscars conversation or that it would indeed be nominated. Rather, I was simply looking for a good, topical documentary to watch. As soon as the credits rolled however, I knew I’d seen something special.

Time documents the lives of a normal family in the USA. The matriarch of the family is Fox Rich; a modern-day abolitionist who is striving to help her husband get released from prison. Filmed across a span of two decades, the documentary seeks to encapsulate what it’s like for African Americans in the modern era, in which slavery is ‘illegal’ but the mass incarceration of black people is at an all time high. We look here at what the Rich family do in order to get ‘the man of the house’ released, and how it has affected the childrens’ lives growing up without a father.

I’m struggling to find the words for this one. It’s a simply outstanding piece of filmmaking from female director, Garrett Bradley

Time explains to the world an all too familiar American story. Entrepreneur Fox Rich is the everyday woman’s superhero, juggling 6 kids on her own and educating the masses about the incarceration of the poorer class all at the same time. She’s a role model to so many. I feel privileged just to have seen her in action. And it’s not only Fox that you’ll fall in love with.

Compiled of home video footage and newly recorded documentary-style clips, this true story does something that others try to do but fail: it makes you really care about the people it portrays. Every single person in this family is so likeable and well-spoken and intelligent, and it makes it impossible for you to not root for them. It’s difficult to pinpoint whether this is due to Bradley’s subversion of the generic documentary formula, or whether it’s simply down to the truth and honesty that is so ever-present in its subjects. Either way, Time will capture your heart. 

Not only is it so heart-wrenching, but this is probably the best looking documentary I’ve seen… maybe ever. It’s not just the black and white aesthetic of it all, but some of the shots of the family are just beautiful, like you’re looking at a candid family photo. The film is simple but intimate without being intrusive, and that soft jazz piano soundtrack? Damn, it’s put together more effectively than a lot of fictional feature films. 

I’ll admit that the story loses its focus once or twice in the middle, centring in me on the every day lives of the family rather than its overarching topic, but it really doesn’t matter. The majority of this film is a perfect demonstration of love, togetherness, injustice and power.

If you want to feel fifteen emotions all at once, give it a watch.

Time is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Performance: n/a
Costume & Set Design: n/a
Overall Rating: ½

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