We all know when you get that dreaded “We need to talk” text message, it’s not good. Nine times out of ten it’s usually bad news… or it’s over. You’d be wishing for the “can you come to my office?” equivalent from your boss instead.
When you’re on the verge of losing the love of your life, like in main character Stillman’s case, you’d do virtually anything to prevent that from happening. Lucky for a physics genius like Stillman, he has something we’d all want in this situation – access to a time travel app, which is the perfect solution to correct any mistakes he made with his girlfriend Debbie (Sophie Turner aka Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones/Jean Grey from X-Men: Dark Phoenix).
The idea sounds great in theory albeit risky, but let’s face it… if we got the chance at a do over that’s as easy as Ctrl Z, we’d take it and do whatever it takes.
From the get-go, the film already hits the ground running with its strong opening introductory scene, and retains a steady pacing throughout. It’s also great the film clearly shows it knows where it’s going and thankfully doesn’t deviate much from its main plot thread.
By setting up a familiar premise of relationship drama, with a relatable goal such as Stillman utilising time travel to prevent Debbie breaking up with him, it somewhat ends up being compelling enough to watch on to see if this can even be accomplished. Whilst at the same time not having everything going like clockwork to make for an interestingly challenging ride, even if it means repeatedly replaying certain moments until the desired resolution is achieved.
There were quite a few heart-warming moments between Stillman & Debbie such as: Debbie swooning over Stillman explaining physics, Stillman getting to replay his greatest hits with Debbie like romantically making out on a rooftop, and the elaborate “I love you” moment which Debbie responds to by playing a short, snappy song on her ukulele to try to express how she feels.
Stillman & Debbie seem to make such a fab couple, even though on paper it may seem they aren’t compatible, and Sophie Turner really seems to do romance flicks well and does a stellar job as Debbie. Also it’s great to see Sophie showcase her inner singstar as she has a great singing voice, even though she admitted singing is the one thing she dislikes doing, let alone singing in front of her fellow actors.
While there aren’t any real tear-jerking moments, the last act where Stillman faces losing Debbie again is a bit sad. And the sacrifice he contemplates to make her happy is both admirable and heartbreaking, given everything he’s gone through to win her back just proves even if you win, you still can lose.
Watching the entire last act feels like an up & down rollercoaster wave of emotions, but it’s all worth it for a satisfactory payoff in the end scene, and the closest thing to a happily ever after resolution for both Stillman & Debbie.
At face value, Time Freak may seem like just another time travel movie, but really, it’s a lot more nuanced than that. Because somehow, Time Freak manages to blend a crazy element like time travel with relationship drama and romance, making it conceivably normal and not at all jarring. Will you have the time of your life watching this movie? Either way, you’re gonna have to make time to find out and watch.
– Ryan Marshall