Monday, February 11, 2013

Clever Cinema Presents: TiMER [A Movie Review, Of Sorts]

I wish I could remember where I first read about the movie TiMER but it was years and years ago (okay, like 2009) so of course that's roughly an entire archaeological era when it comes to the Internet.

It was shortly after it debuted at whatever film festival, and I was intrigued by the premise. I knew there was no way it would ever be shown anywhere near here (there is one theater in Des Moines that gets the good indie films, but I don't think I knew about it in 2009, because I lived under a rock), so I pre-added it to my Netflix queue. For years since then, I've been checking in on it and it was kept out of my queue in that maddening box with all the discs labeled "unknown availability."

Three years, I waited. And about a week or so ago, it landed smack in the middle of my queue. I may have audibly squealed, I don't remember. But I kicked it to the top of my queue. And now it's in my greedy little hands and I am so excited to watch it this weekend.

Don't ever tell me I'm not capable of being patient.

The premise as I remember it was that at some undeterminable point in the future, you can have a timer implanted into your wrist that counts down until the day and time when you are going to meet your soulmate. (I think the caveat is that your soul mate ALSO has to have a timer implanted/installed for it to actually work.). I couldn't remember the specific plot of the movie other than it had something to do with the main character having not encountered her match yet and not knowing when she would, or something.

I found it to be interesting because of all the questions it raises. If you knew when you were going to meet your soulmate, would you date anyone else? Would you simply wait? What if you did date someone else and fell in love? What happened when you then did meet your soulmate? Or, what if something happened to your soul mate? Were you screwed? Because then everyone else would know about their own soulmates so you'd be out of luck. OR, what if your soul mate decided to date someone in the interim and fell in love with them? What if you met your soulmate before you had your timer implanted? Would you then ever know about it? Is soulmate one word or two?

This is all very fascinating both from a storytelling angle as well as a philosophical one, in terms of the nature of free will versus destiny, and would you want to know ahead of time? Kind of along the lines of "if you could find out when you were going to die, would you?"

In honor of my impending disc arrival, I decided to actually look it up since it had been so long since I'd discovered it. The star of the movie is Emma Caulfield, who I recognized as Anya (the delightful demon-of-vengeance-for-scorned-women-turned-human) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In case I'm not explaining it well, here is the official synopsis from imdb:
When implanted in a person's wrist, a TiMER counts down to the day the wearer finds true love. But Oona O'Leary faces the rare dilemma of a blank TiMER. Her soul mate - whoever and wherever he is - has yet to have a TiMER implanted. Staring down the barrel of thirty and tired of waiting for her would-be life partner to get off the dime, Oona breaks her own rules and falls for Mikey, a charming and inappropriately young supermarket clerk with a countdown of four months.
So, I had the gist correct, at least. Let's hope that this movie lives up to the hype I've been building in my own head for the last few years.


I enjoyed this. A lot. I actually bought my own copy from Amazon and watched it again. It was thought provoking for all the reasons I mentioned above, but not preachy or heavy in any way. It was actually rather upbeat and light, quirky and fun. Definitely quirky. The ultimate ending was slightly predictable, but it was a delight getting there. My favorite relationship in the entire movie was the one between Oona and her sister Steph. I'm not sure if I've ever had quite that tight of a relationship with anyone (not even my own sister), and even though it's fictional, it gave me warm fuzzies. There's a particular scene near the end, when the two of them are in the kitchen after some Significant Things just happened and there's this (paraphrased) hos before bros line that Oona gives Steph and it is the most perfect line in the movie. In my opinion. Which may or may not count for much. Whatever.

The interesting thing about this premise is that there are so many possibilities for stories to be told in this other universe, but this movie touched on pretty much all the scenarios I could think of and managed to turn an interesting concept into an actual story. Sometimes you see these movies or even books with an awesome seed of an idea - but then the story falls flat, it doesn't live up to its potential, it's disappointing. This movie satisfied all my bizarre requirements for a movie (some of which include: being romantic without being a chick flick, thought-provoking without giving me a headache, not overly predictable, tied up at the end - preferably "happy" whatever that means, but not drenched in cheese.) Interestingly enough, the only real loose end (of sorts) that might have bothered me was the endgame of Steph and her timer, but if you watch the deleted scenes, there's an entire mini-storyline that got cut that sort of provides some closure with that, if you need it. I'm not sure I did, I hate loose ends, but I liked that her story was kind of open-ended. Ah, well.

I was also surprised (why, I don't know) when I watched the special features to see that the writer/director was a twenty-something female. It was kind of inspiring in that sense that, hey, someone my age managed to tell a story and make a film out of it that people watched and liked, maybe I can create something awesome too. Though I suppose most filmmakers and Hollywood types start young... which baffles my mind. I feel ancient at 28 sometimes, while other times, I feel like I'm still too young to be taken seriously. It's a constant pull and I walk around very confused most of the time. As I'm sure most of you do, as well. I suppose this gets better, though with my luck I'll probably be fifty and still wondering if I'm a grownup yet. Oy.

Anyway. If you're looking for a "new" movie to watch, I enjoyed this one quite a bit, that doesn't mean you will, but if you trust my taste in anything at all (God help you), you'll probably like this. And don't worry, I sent my copy back to Netflix* so they should have it ready and waiting.

*I have a tendency to hang on to discs for months at a time because I apparently love to waste money. If I had a better Internet connection I'd switch to streaming but it always stops and buffers so much it drives me absolutely batty. So I get discs. And I don't watch them for months. And I end up paying a multiple of what it would have just cost to go buy the damn thing at the store. I should have made that a New Year's Resolution: watch and return my Netflix discs in a timely fashion. Is it too late to add that? Eh, it doesn't matter. I don't even know where my current disc is. The cycle of failure continues.

Would you get a timer? Why or why not?


Kelly L said...

I loved this movie. It's on Netflix streaming, btw. :)

Emma Caulfield is the greatest. She has a tumblr that I follow religiously and she does ridiculous things for her tumblr followers.

And no, I wouldn't get a timer. Fuck. That. It takes the fun out of life.

AND and and ... I appreciate the Buffy reference. we're watching 90210 and she should appear soon I think. Yay '90s teen shows.

Kelly L said...

I thought this movie was okay. Oona made me think of you, Calee. Little and cute and fierce and impatient to settle down and dating a younger [redacted] dude but then accidentally getting serious about him... :)

Kelly L said...

ah yes. i love my young dudes. might be time to trade up (or down?). and the guy in that movie is totally my type.