Starring ELEANOR LAMBERT (daughter of DIANE LANE and CHRISTOPHER LAMBERT)
Reviewed by Stacey Yvonne- Released by Dark Star Pictures Time Now is an uneven thriller that relies a bit too much on vagueness to tell a fully engaging story. Starring Eleanor Lambert and Claudia Black there are good bones to tell an empathetic drama, but the need to turn this into a thriller forces the film to turn to gimmicky and often pointless jump scares.
“Half a truth is often a great lie” is the motto of the film, but can easily be applied to the script. There are so many things that the narrative dwells on that are inconsequential. It’s like Time Now is showing us the story of someone that we’re supposed to already know. But the details are far too vague to actually relate to Lambert’s Jenny, and without the relation, the entire movie falters.
Jenny returns to her home in suburban Detroit years later due to the death of her brother, Victor. Jenny, Victor and Andrew were all the triplets of Beth (Jeannine Thompson) and Geoff (Peter Knox) who are now separated. Rounding out the family are Jenny’s son Andrew (who appears to be uncredited) and Aunt Joan (Claudia Black). Jenny was gone for 7 years, she got married and had a son whom she named after her brother, Andrew. During the film I kept wondering why they referred to Jenny and Victor as twins, but I realized that Andrew must have died years prior and was probably the impetus for why Jenny moves away.
There’s a bittersweet scene where Beth is talking to Jenny as a younger girl and she tells her that Jenny came out first. Because she’s the oldest, it will be her job to take care of her brothers. There’s a lot of issues around this and the dynamic of girls being mothers to their little brothers doesn’t get lost as we see how it upends Jenny.
In these ways, the film is great. There’s a lot going on between the lines and it helps you understand why Victor’s gifrlfriend Tanja (Paige Kendrick) is so hot/cold with her, and why Victor (or Gonzo as he’s known by his friends)’s friend, Kash is suddenly so interested in Jenny. The cinematography is beautiful and the exploration of Detroit’s underground hip hop movement is very cool. It really shows you the world that Gonzo called home and you understand the impact and meaning he had to the people who inhabit this world.
What’s missing is truly understanding the toll it’s taking on Jenny. They never explicitly state what happened to Andrew, but it feels vital in understanding why Victor’s death – the event that took them from triplets to twins – is so haunting. She has dreams where she’s looking at Andrew’s desecrated face and she turns and sees Victor in what appears to be her version of hell.
They were estranged and so she tries to get to know his friends and finds companionship in Kash. However, the half truths the movie poster alludes to become more than great lies, they become motivation.
It’s worth mentioning the excellent performance by Claudia Black as Aunt Joan. She immediately takes to young Andrew and truly has a matronly spirit though it doesn’t seem she had children of her own. Jenny’s mother, Helen is cold and distant and extremely and bitterly hurt. She’s angry at the world and shuts off where Joan is open and trying desperately to hold everything together. There’s a scene where Joan begins crying and she looks at young Andrew and says “would you look at that, it’s raining from my eyes!” it’s cute and sad at the same time, that she masks her pain to shield Andrew from it.
If we’d spent more time understanding the “Brother Andrew of it all” and less time on Jenny’s home life and her strained relationship with her husband, I think this movie could have shaped up to be a drama that pulled at the heartstrings. The terror of grief isn’t something that needs a lot of bells and whistles but what it does need is construction.
As a piece of art it could very well be worth the initial watch. Again, it’s beautifully shot and told and a lot of the story comes together because of the sound design and visuals. Black’s performance is beautiful and the family dynamics are truly sad and gripping. I was a bit underwhelmed, but definitely check it out for yourself.
Written and Directed by Spencer King Time Now also stars Xxavier Polk, Paige Kendrick, Dwele, Sebastian Beacon, Jeannine Thompson, Peter Knox, Aaron Matthew Atkisson, Asher Atkisson, Dominique Alexander, and Ashley Sheri. Featuring music from R&B star Dwele.
Time Now is available now in select theaters and VOD.