OCTOBER 9th, 2020
STARRING: SIBIL FOX RICH; ROBERT RICH
DIRECTED BY: GARRETT BRADLEY
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Garret Bradley’s documentary Time belongs as an exhibit at an art museum. Possibly an entire room at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art), wall to wall covered in movie screens, where this documentary can be projected for visitors to see. Just keep it running on a loop. That’s the kind of treatment a film such as this deserves. It is not an easy documentary to recommend, because it’s not great for entertainment sake, but it is amazing for the sake of art, for the sake of saying something about life. Bradley captures the fight that Sibil Fox Rich took on, every day, for twenty plus years, to help get her husband Robert Rich released from his 60-year prison sentence. Her husband robbed a bank and was caught and Sibil did two years, but the heavy sentence on her husband has dug a hole into her family, constantly digging to regain a sense of self, to have the world give forgiveness for her husband’s mistakes. Time is a gorgeous capturing of love and commitment, fighting for someone, and fighting against a system that fails to forgive.
This is a documentary that does not sugar coat the wrongs that have been done. From the start, Sibil declares that she knows what they did was wrong, living in a state where money isn’t flowing. Two kids and two more on the way. And although Time is about someone fighting for their loved one, it’s above all things about how the clock does not stop moving. The title of Time is everything that Garrett Bradley has captured. The time spent fighting for freedom, the time spent without a father, the time spent raising children on your own, and all that time lost that a family can never get back.
From a production stance, Time is a documentary that has precise and pristine choices to make the message work. The entire film is shot in a luscious black and white, a narrative choice that adds to the concept of the past, and a nostalgic touch. There’s also a well mended pairing of past home videos and documented moments with the family. Phone calls to the prison to celebrate birthdays. Long conversations with others about the system. Sibil filling out paperwork and capturing the fight that she embarked on. With every scene, from the start in seeing Sibil pregnant with twins, to an end sequence where she speaks to a crowd about her work, this documentary is about the fight for family.
The only place where Time falters is from an “entertainment” viewpoint. It’s not a shoot-em up action film. It’s the antithesis of a comic book movie. So to recommend it to someone comes with a tidbit of information for preparation. This is a documentary that captures a women’s twenty-year battle to get her husband paroled. It is an experience and to witness the harsh realities for many American’s today. Life is incredibly unfair and the work that a human must go through to find forgiveness is equally crippling as being behind bars. It would make an excellent double feature with The Shawshank Redemption.
If the entire purpose of documentary filmmaking is to say something with your art then Garrett Bradley has said it all. Time is a documentary that captures everything. This is a capturing of life. The mother, the father, the children, the people left behind, the fight for freedom, and a constant love that makes it all possible. To have a person like Sibil Fox Rich in this world reminds us that there are people worth fighting for. Everything is worth it when she’s fighting on your side. Time is precious and we need to cherish it more than ever.
TIME IS PLAYING ON AMAZON PRIME THIS WEEKEND OCTOBER 16TH
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady