“Fox Rich fights for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year sentence in prison.” – IMBD
It felt like an important, if difficult and emotional, day to watch Time. Let me clarify…
Given Brandon Bernard’s state-sanctioned murder not 24 hours ago and given the federal government’s unprecedented bloodlust to continue with four others during the presidential transition, I knew watching Time would be particularly tough. Yet is also seemed like a critical time to do it. To continue, or in some cases, begin, the expansion of our social awareness. To expand our awareness of the inherent, deep, intentional, and utterly devastating flaws of our country’s justice system and how people of color, as well as low-income citizens, are disproportionately affected by these flaws.
When I started watching the film, I had to double check that it was, in fact, a documentary. The film is presented in striking black and white, often in slow, sweeping shots overlaid with spiritual and poetic commentary by its subjects. As we, the audience, delve into the story of the Richardson family, we come to understand the artistic choices of the film.
High school sweethearts, Rob and “Fox” Richardson, had started a young family and found themselves in dire financial straits. Out of desperation, the two attempted to rob a bank; however, both were apprehended. Fox was sentenced to 3.5 years, while Rob was sentenced to 60 years without the possibility of parole. 60 YEARS. Over the past two decades, not only has Fox stayed married to Rob, but she has worked tirelessly to help get Rob granted clemency. Oh yeah, all of this in addition to raising SIX BOYS. Oh and the sons featured in the film are unbelievable young men who are smart, talented, hardworking, and who credit both of their parents, despite their circumstances, with turning them into the individuals they are.
In addition to the striking visuals, the film also features dozens of clips of home-made videos of the boys growing up. Upon her release, Fox filmed hundreds of hours of these clips in the hope that Rob would one day be able to watch the moments he missed while incarcerated. The clips and the additional visuals allow the audience to view this family as the stars of this drama. In essence, when we hear about the flaws in our criminal justice system and about the exorbitantly high numbers affected, we tend to become numb and pessimistic about ever changing the system. However, this film reminds us that each of those numbers represents an individual, an individual who has a story, a family, and who is missing precious time that can never be regained.
I highly recommend watching this film, as difficult as it may be. It will make you disgusted with the callous, capitalistic and somehow simultaneously lazy nature of the prison industrial complex. It will make you mourn for the generations of men and women we are needlessly losing to it. But it will also give you faith in the power of hope and love. And that’s just what we need this year.
Rating: 8 out of 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also see: 13th, The Farm: Angola, USA, The House I Live In, Louis Theroux: Behind Bars, Serving Life
Streaming: Amazon Prime
With: This film follows the Richardson family and, specifically, family matriarch, Fox.
Directed By: Garrett Bradley