Aporia (2023) [Fantasia Film Festival 2023]

Often times time travel movies can get bogged down in particulars and more complicated ideas but “Aporia” is one of the few where there’s not so much of the focus on how, but as to the fallout. Writer-Director Jared Moshé prides himself in making “Aporia” a film that’s mainly about the consequences about time travel more than anything. “Aporia” is a fascinating and touching mix of films like “Primer,” and “Sliding Doors,” to where this version of time travel doesn’t so much reverse time, but alters the reality with it. “Aporia” offers a time travel movie that isn’t so much about altering time but about the ideas of destiny and death.

Judy Greer is fantastic as Sophie, a grieving widow who is still mourning the loss of her husband Mal after a horrible drunk driving accident. She wiles her days away working and trying to re-connect with her mourning daughter Riley. When she re-connects with her husband’s best friend Jabir, she learns they’d been working on a time machine. The time machine doesn’t reverse time though, but alters it to where the person that’d previously died lives while someone else dies. Anxious to re-claim her past life, Sophie gets her wish, but there are severe consequences.

Sophie is longing to find a way around losing her husband Mal and in the celebration of her discovery there are other absolutely unpredictable consequences that follow. There isn’t too much of a big turn of events as Jared Moshé isn’t about delivering big surprise twists. Instead his narrative is a lot more about fallout and consciously ponders on how far we’d go and what we’d be willing to sacrifice to get the ones we lost back in our lives. “Aporia” deals so much in ideas about wielding immense power and exploiting the time line to our own benefits, and the moral implications of it. Is it worth altering everyone else’s lives to ensure your own happiness? Is it fair sacrificing other people for the sake of your own personal benefit?

Jared Moshé always keeps Sophie a reluctant and empathetic character despite the fact that the narrative could have easily depicted her as selfish and narcissistic. While she is very much trying to bring back her beloved husband, she’s really trying to bring back her entire family. Her daughter has all but given up on life and on bonding with Sophie, and Mal was the foundation that broke the entire relationship in to pieces. Sophie just wants to get her daughter back, too, and their mission to fix their past and present, like classic time travel stories, have humongous alterations on the future and their plans for the future. “Aporia” is a classic time travel movie but one that’s more about down to Earth concepts and ideas centered on mortality, destiny, and how far we’d go to cheat death.

There’s no big spectacle, save for the wonderful performances by Judy Greer and Edi Gathegi, respectively. Greer is especially at her best here, conveying so many tones of grief, pain, and immediacy. If you’re a fan of thought provoking and evocative science fiction tales, “Aporia” hits all the right notes and is begging to be discovered. 

This year the Fantasia International Film Festival runs in Montreal from July 20th to August 9th.