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"Movies have been playing around with the reality and nature of time for decades."
Raymond Teague is the author of Reel
Spirit: A Guide to Movies That
He is an award-winning
His book is available by clicking the "Buy the Book" link above or by clicking here.
"Reel Spirit" Movie Reviews
Time is of the essence, we say, and we think that we spend time, waste time, gain time, lose time, save time, and live in time.
But if indeed we live and move and have our being in Spirit, and Spirit is timeless and eternal, what and where is time?
Movies have been playing around with the reality and nature of time for decades. By their very nature as an expressive art form, movies manipulate time. In theme and plot, some movies also explore the meaning and dimensions of time.
Vintage movies delving into the broader possibilities of time include Lost Horizon from 1937 and Portrait of Jennie from 1948.
Newer movies include Back to the Future from 1985 and Star Trek Insurrection from 1998. One of the most intriguing movies about time is Sliding Doors from 1998, in which parallel lives and probable realities become fodder for entertainment.
Moving even closer to current time - whatever that may be - is the movie Run Lola Run from 1999. This original, frenetic film from Germany, written and directed by Tom Tykwer, is about a young woman (Franka Potente) and her literal race against "time" in various time lines and parallel lives. In different scenarios of Lola running to save her boyfriend, the viewer sees how even the smallest of actions lead to other actions and outcomes.
Newest in the time genre is Frequency, directed by Gregory Hoblit and written by Toby Emmerich. The plot concerns a New York City police officer, John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) who through unusual atmospheric circumstances (solar flares) and a ham radio is about to communicate with his father, firefighter Frank Sullivan (Dennis Quaid) thirty years in the past. The information shared in their cosmic conversations across time dimensions (the son is in 1999 and the father is in 1969) leads to major alterations in what they experience as reality.
We're talking some heavy-duty ideas handled entertainingly and also convincingly -- until the end of the movie, unfortunately.
Along the way, though, there is opportunity to suggest that time is more than we generally acknowledge. The ideas are initially and subtly suggested by TV commentators.
From a TV, we hear the information that physicists are saying that there may be more than one time dimension and that there may be parallel universes. "Will parallel universes ever be aware of each other?" the TV commentator asks. We hear that time may be "far more fluid than anybody could have imagined."
Events in the movie play out these speculations. Frank is fond of reminding his son to bring "spirit and guts" to any challenge, and it is interesting to see how both "spirit and guts" are necessary to solve the predicaments across time dimensions.
To Frank back in the '60s, his grown son becomes "the voice of an angel" interceding on his behalf. To a friend whom he is trying to convince about the unusual time connections occurring, Frank says, "You've got to open up your mind."
The movie doesn't totally hold together with its concepts about parallel lives and time travel. However, it does give us much to think about if we are willing to open our minds in thinking about time.