Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Movie with Abe: Time

Directed by Garrett Bradley
Released October 16, 2020 (Amazon Prime)

Relationships can in many instances withstand the greatest tests to their stability and endure despite tremendous obstacles. An idyllic life isn’t a universal guarantee, and some couples face difficult circumstances that complicate what could have been a simple and happy existence. Being kept apart for an extended period is never easy, and when that’s not something that either of them chose, it’s even more trying. To be with someone knowing that physical contact and even any form of communication may be severely limited takes dedication and love, two factors that may still not be strong enough on their own.

Fox Rich met her husband Rob in high school and they set out to start a business together in Shreveport, Louisiana. Financial struggles compelled them to rob a local bank, resulting in an extraordinarily harsh sixty-year prison sentence for Rob. After she was released following a three-year sentence, Fox worked to provide for her six children and to fight to bring Rob home. Home videos from before the crime and the arrest introduce Rob and his young children, and more recent footage meets Fox as she continues campaigning for clemency for her husband, as well as the actions of her teenage children who have been influenced by the absence of their father for so many years.

This documentary opens in a mesmerizing, powerful way, offering no introduction to the images it shows and accompanying the black-and-white scenes with a powerful musical score. It never feels like anyone shown on screen is talking to an interviewer, and instead they are merely going about their lives, working with people to achieve what’s important to them, both related to Rob’s incarceration and to their own ambitions and success. This film is an enlightening and fully open window into the Rich family, showcasing everything they put out into the world.

This film originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January and has been enjoying a steady stream of accolades from a number of critics’ groups. While it doesn’t follow a typical narrative in spelling out the exact circumstances under which Rob was convicted and everything that has happened since then, its layered title is indicative of the way in which this film approaches its subjects and the concept of time. Interspersing moments from years ago with recent developments is extremely effective in showcasing the enduring permanence of relationships and the unbreakable link that memory and love provide to any point the past, present, or future.


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