Movie Review: Timer

Would you want to know the future?  That question alone has been explored in films before.  Most of the time it comes in the form of a traveler from the future trying to warn us.  But Timer, the directorial debut feature from Jac Shaeffer, moves the dilemma from the distance of the future to the very immediate present.   What if there was device that could tell you, to the second, when you would look into the eyes of your soul-mate for the very first time.  Would you want it?

An Indie film that appears on the surface to be just another romantic comedy proves to cut much deeper into philosophical dilemmas than an initial impression might imply. With a very brief explanation, and a solid dose of suspended disbelief, we are presented with the “Timer.”  Taking place in modern New York, this quasi sci-fi flick employs a wrist embedded countdown clock  to unravel the classic romantic tug-and-pull storyline with a serious moral dilemma.

Once attached to your wrist, the Timer finds your soul mate and displays the exact days, hours, minutes and seconds until you meet that person.  There are a few catches, though.  For one, you can only see the countdown if your soul mate also has a timer implanted.  Until then, it just looks and waits and displays straight zeroes.  Secondly, if you ever choose to remove your timer, biologically, you cannot ever have it re-implanted.  This setup cast doubt over many of our gut reactions to the formerly easy decision of discovering our life long soul mate.

Our main character, Oona, and her sister have both chosen to implant timers in an effort to avoid the pitfalls of marriage as we know it.  In the day of timers, divorces are non-existent.  Happiness is a guarantee when you eventually find your match.  It can range from never, to 5000 days to even just a few hours.  Oona has no match yet, and she decides to force potential partners to get timers implanted t0 decide whether to continue dating them or lose the “dead end” right away.

Problems arrive when she inadvertently falls in love with a young boy who is well below her league but curiously attractive.  He has a timer as well, and he’s all set to meet his soul mate in just a short four months.  At first, it makes for the perfect, extended one night stand as Oona waits for her timer to finally find her a mate, but emotions don’t make things so easy.  The movie unravels with a peppering of clock imagery, carefully thought-out dialog and a twisting of existential debacles.

A staggeringly serious movie cleverly cloaked as a chick flick, I highly recommend you watch this film with an open mind.  With the same seriousness, I invite you to ponder the following poll.  Please leave your responses as comments on this blog so that others may respond.

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