Documentary

Time

This family story about fighting for redemption and freedom tells it like it is.

We meet Sibil Fox Richardson, or Fox Rich for short, en entrepreneur, author, abolitionist, and mother of six boys, who is fighting to release her loving husband Robert from the Louisiana State Penitentiary. He was her high school sweetheart, and they wanted to open a hip-hop clothing store, while struggling to make ends meet. “Desperate people do desperate things. It’s as simple as that,” she says. Meaning: she had to drive the getaway car, while her husband robbed banks. And in 1999, she took a guilty plea bargain for her children’s sake, while he refused, and was sentenced to 60 years without the possibility of parole or suspension of sentence.

That’s the true story presented in “Time,” a documentary from director Garrett Bradley, which has its honest views about the meaning of the word. Time is what you make of it, time flies, and time is many things. It’s also a human story about a woman’s 20-year-fight for her husband’s freedom, and how she expresses her love and commitment to her family through words.

When you see Fox on the mic, you’re guaranteed real and powerful dialogue. She has been willing to redeem herself for her crimes, and has God to thank for that. Not only does she require a cardboard cutout of her husband, but she only gets to see him twice a month with 2 hours per visit. She believes it’s not fair, so when she rants about how broken the prison system is, and how she’s fighting against it, she explains how “Success is the best revenge.”

The movie is shot in black and white with a near perfect combo of home videos and new footage. Seeing the old footage is really inspiring, as we get to see the joys in her family life, when Fox and Robert’s kids were very little, and the faiths and struggles in her life. The new footage is also beautifully photographed, when we see Fox fighting the power and when her boys see how time works in mysterious ways. And when we see Robert out of prison and embracing his wife and children, it’s like seeing a joyous miracle. Zac Manuel, Justin Zeifach, and Nisa East all craft the cinematography tremendously well.

He and his wife may have resorted to drastic measures to provide for their family, but they are still human beings. “Time” is about those people going through the highs and lows in their lives. The highs are how they love each other and how she raised their boys the right ways, and the lows regard their crime and punishments. This true story is about about choices, consequences, and redemption.

I wasn’t able to get all the boys they had-Mahlik, Remi, Laurence, twins Freedom and Justus, and little Rob-but I also can’t imagine what it’s like to grow up without a father. And I was able to read Justus, who explains how there is no space in his name, and he acknowledges the meaning of time. I know I keep bringing it up, but the movie knows its power, and the characters use it wisely. Kudos to Garrett Bradley for presenting such a powerful family drama, and to Sibil Fox Richardson for expressing her positive and negatives of her life.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

Playing in Select Theaters

Coming to Amazon Prime on 10/16

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