TIME NOW movie poster | ©2021 Dark Star Pictures/Uncork’d Entertainment

TIME NOW movie poster | ©2021 Dark Star Pictures/Uncork’d Entertainment

Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Eleanor Lambert, Xxavier Polk, Claudia Black, Paige Kay, Sebastian Beacon, Dwele, Jeannine Thompson, Peter Knox, Asher Atkisson, Ashli Sheri, Aaron Matthew Atkisson
Writer: Spencer King
Director: Spencer King
Distributor: Dark Star Pictures/Uncork’d Entertainment
Release Date: October 26, 2021

TIME NOW is a slow, somber family drama. At its best, TIME NOW can be said to be a steady build to what can happen when someone is desperate to blame anybody else for their own shortcomings. Director and writer Spencer King illustrates this point well.

Unfortunately, TIME NOW is one of those movies that too often tries to be mysterious at the expense of character insights and even coherence. Consequently, it is not especially fulfilling.

Eleanor Lambert stars as Jenny, who returns to her family home in Detroit for the first time in quite a while (we eventually find out it’s been seven years) with her toddler Andrew (Asher Atkisson) in tow.

The occasion is the death of Jenny’s brother Victor (Sebastian Beacon, seen in flashbacks), who was killed in a car accident with a friend. A third brother, the namesake of Jenny’s son – Jenny, Victor, and Andrew were triplets – is not in the picture. It is indicative of a larger issue with TIME NOW that we eventually find out what happened, but not why.

After spending three minutes with Jenny’s mother Helen (Jeannine Thompson), we easily understand why Jenny fled and has been reluctant to return home. Still, Jenny is guilty about not having been there for Victor. She decides to look into his life, and discovers his work and his friends. Then she discovers something else.

It’s hard to talk about TIME NOW without touching on aspects that the film treats as spoilers. What can be said is that Jenny is not an easy figure to have at the story’s center. Even people who see themselves as not being in the spotlight have needs and wants and preferences, but Jenny is pretty much defined by what she avoids. This isn’t the fault of Lambert, who plays Jenny’s sorrow with conviction.

King seems to be actively pushing against our connection with the characters, often using wide shots and shadows to maintain distance. We understand what’s happening intellectually, but we can’t feel it viscerally.

Claudia Black provides warmth as Jenny’s supportive aunt, and Xxavier Polk and Paige Kay have impact as people who were important to Victor.

There might or might not be a racial component to TIME NOW. Perhaps the ambiguity is intentional. Fair enough, but we still ought to have some kind of emotional reaction to what’s happening, or at least get a sense that we’re encountering a new point of view.

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