Imagine having a device that can shoot a bullet back in time. Add Judy Greer to the mix and you’ve got an intriguing time at the movies.
PLOT: Since losing her husband, Sophie has struggled to manage grief, a full-time job, and parenting her devastated daughter, but when a former physicist reveals a secret time-bending machine, Sophie will be faced with an impossible choice.
REVIEW: The concept for Aporia is enough to have most people interested but add Judy Greer and you’ve got my butt in a seat opening night. I’ll always support any movie that gives Judy Greer center stage as she’s been a wonderful character actor for years. She plays grieving wife Sophie, who recently lost her husband and is left dealing with an angry daughter and a life with no meaning. But when her friend, Jabir offers her the opportunity to kill the man that drunkenly hit her husband, only with a twist: they can shoot a bullet into the past, effectively saving her husband’s life. And all of this happens within the first 20 minutes.
Aporia is very high concept yet it always manages to be grounded. It’s about death and loss but it’s also about empathy and refusing to ignore others’ pain. Like anything that deals with the concept of “time travel” there are going to be logic holes to poke. But, for the most part, they cover them well and never managed to take me out of the film. If anything, I could have gone for them going a little more in the weird direction, as the narrative is rather pedestrian. I was also a little disappointed in how little we got to see of the husband (Edi Gathegi) coming to terms with his situation. He had been dead and suddenly he’s not. Sure, the life he’s lived has had no inkling of the tragedy, but it seems like something he’d confront once he finds out what happened. Instead, they just gloss over it and mostly deal with Sophie.
Maybe I’m just a callous person but I just couldn’t relate to Sophie feeling guilty about the negative effect that getting her husband back had. It feels very silly for her to not have the context of her own grief to know what she did it for. They try and frame it like she knows the pain of losing her husband yet the situations are entirely different. One couple was on the outs while the other still loved each other. Sure, loss is sad any way you put it, but how the film tries to treat them as equals is frustrating.
Aporia takes a turn in its second half that lost me a little bit. I found it to be a bit meandering and unsure of what it wanted to be. There’s a strange part where the nightmare of not knowing your lines in front of a bunch of people is essentially just re-lived. As scary of a situation as that can be, it felt a little generic and like they were just padding out time. There are a million worse scenarios to be placed in, given the situation. Because there’s a lot of intrigue, especially with the different elements that happen in the final act. I’m being purposefully vague as to not ruin some of those moments, as they happen to be my favorites of the film.
Ultimately, I enjoyed Aporia and its messaging. I feel the viewer will get different things out of it depending on the level of loss they’ve experienced in life. While there are some decisions I wasn’t a fan of, it didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the film. Judy Greer is still an absolute joy to watch and the concept will set your synapses on fire.
APORIA is CURRENTLY PLAYING AT FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 2023 and is IN THEATERS ON AUGUST 11TH, 2023.