Film Review – Time
Time can appear to move as slow or fast, depending on how it is perceived. When the perceiver is doing something they love, time can fly by. However, when life has to move on normally, and your self is stuck in a moment, pleading with the aftermath not to be a reality, time can drag, clinging from one second to the next.
Fox Rich knows the meaning of time and will assume that she would say that it moves slowly in the twenty years she awaited her husband’s prison release. The documentary Time follows Rich and her sons through a remarkable compilation of new footage shot by director Garrett Bradley and home videos shot by Rich herself, intended for her imprisoned husband, Rob Rich. The audience is taken back and forth in time as Rich tells her story both in the past and how it has unfurled in the present.
If one ever needs to watch a film about a strong woman, look no further than Time. Fox Rich raised six boys practically on her own, made a career for herself, became an outspoken abolitionist, and a progressive speaker on the injustices she has endured. Fox is not without fault, and she tells her own story both as a cautionary tale as well as a confession. Young people make decisions based on their predicaments, and Fox and her husband found themselves in just that. An armed robbery was the solution to their problem, and they both paid for it, Fox as the getaway driver and Rob as the armed robber. Sixty years without the possibility of parole seemed like a good idea to a judge, and Fox spent 20 years trying to get her husband out. She did not try to say they did not do the crime, but the crime did not fit the punishment.
This film is no ordinary documentary or typical of docs of the same theme and subject matter. The film is only in black and white and accompanied by piano melodies with some strings mixed in towards the end. These choices give the doc a classic feel, like this story may endure and ripple on for years. Fox’s voice, while strong and authoritative, lends a calming effect filled with love and determination.
The most striking and memorable moment of the film is when Fox points out that her twins, Justice and Freedom, have never lived in a house with a father’s presence, let alone their own. They have a father, he is alive, and they can visit him twice a month, but twice a month visits do not necessarily build and keep a bond between a father and his sons. Fox makes Rob’s presence known as much as possible in her home, going as far as having a cardboard cutout of him on the wall, but a photo is not a father or a stand-in for what may come.
Time is not about the father’s time, but that of the mother, the family’s rock. While a person in prison is punished, there are also reverberating effects that punish those outside the prison walls, whether family, friends, or a specialized skill or job. A family wages a personal war against the government and the prison system to right a perceived wrong. Fox Rich waged her war and fought for the family and husband that she believed to be enduring cruel and unusual punishment.