Regency / Fox Home Entertainment
Reason for the Rating: Violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and strong language.
Plot Summary: When time is literally money, a young man finds a way to steal from the rich and give to the poor
PopFam Recommends: Interesting concept, but falls short of its promise.
We've all said it, "Time is money." It's a commodity we all wish we had more of, that's for sure. But what if it were true? What if you were paid in time, and paid all your bills and debts by giving away your time? An interesting idea that's the basic premise of In Time.
Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a young man who lives sometime "in the near future," at a point where "they" have figured out how to turn off the aging gene. People age to 25 and are then given one more year to live (meaning, a digital clock on each person's arm begins counting down one year). They can earn more time by working, or telekinetically stealing time from others. Most people live day to day or week to week, but there are those who have amassed centuries of time and live extravagantly.
Will and his mother (Olivia Wilde) live in the ghetto and survive on a day to day basis. After his mother "times out" (dies), Will happens to meet Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) who has lived 105 years, and still has a century on his clock. Not wanting to be immortal, Henry gives Will all his time, thereby committing suicide. Will immediately moves uptown and not only gains the attention of beautiful Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), but from a Timekeeper (Cillian Murphy), as well. While attempting to avoid capture, Will kidnaps Sylvia, and thus begins their adventure of taking time from the rich and giving it to the poor. Kind of a Bonnie and Clyde meets Robin Hood type of deal.
Now I know this is an action/sci-fi, two genre's that aren't known for being realistic. But if we are to believe in such advanced technology as genetically tampering with aging and babies born with embedded digital clocks on their arms, where were the cell phones, computers, or cars? I know pay phones still exist, but I couldn't tell you where one is currently located. In this movie, that's all they used. If this movie had been made in the 70's, I might have bought it, but with the technology we have today, it felt completely unrealistic. Short of some kind of catastrophic event, I'm thinking in 100 years we won't be back to walking, riding the bus, and using a pay phone.
The idea on which this movie is based is intriguing, and, like The Matrix and Inception, brings up some interesting philosophical and ethical questions. Yet, unlike those two blockbusters, I was disappointed to find the actual story boring and disconnected. Maybe the movie needed to be longer for the audience to develop an emotional connection between Will and his mother, or to expand on what happened to his father (a subplot that emerges several times, but is never fully explained). Or maybe if there had been more chemistry between Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried their relationship might have drawn me into feeling something for them and their crimes of passion. As it is though, this movie falls short.
Despite a weak plot and dialogue, In Time explores interesting themes about money, classes, and generosity that could spark interesting conversation with teens. If you can bear through some of the other missing elements, this could be a good movie to see for a decent discussion afterward. Otherwise, don't waste your time.
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• In Time uses time in place of money. What did you find interesting about this substitution?
• Are you more like The Timekeeper or Will? Explain.
• How did this movie challenge you to be more generous with your resources? What can you do with what you have?
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