Friend of the blog, Jeremy LaLonde brings his first genre film entry to the Toronto After Dark film festival tonight with his latest film, James vs. His Future Self. Filled with great actors the film plays with time travel as a way to show us to take the time we need to be in the moment.
And of all the films I’ve seen for After Dark this week, I have to call this one as the best ending – I loved it, but I’m a romantic at heart.
To be clear, the time travel aspect just serves as the device to do what LaLonde as a writer/director does best, explore the human condition whether it is with oneself, or relationships, and this is very much what this film is about. It is also arguably, his best piece of work to date.
Jonas Chernick who co-wrote the screenplay with LaLonde stars as James, a brilliant scientist who is on the verge of unlocking the key to time travel, but he’s poured all of his life into it, ignoring the actual moments that occurring around him. His sister, Meredith (a scene stealing, quipping Tommie-Amber Pirie) looks after him, makes sure he eats on a regular basis, and very much wants him to help her move on from the loss of their parents.
His social life is dull and awkward as he does not realize the potential before him in his one and only friend, Courtney (Cleopatra Coleman). As a side note, the chemistry between Chernick and Coleman is palatable, and electric. There are a number of great moments in this film, but the very best happen when these two share the screen, which is saying something especially when…
…everything goes sideways.
James’ future self, enjoyably brought to life by Daniel Stern who brings the right amount of humor, gruffness, and an unexpected level of tragedy and pathos to his portrayal shows up to stop James from squandering his life in pursuit of time travel when he can’t even appreciate the moments that occurring around him.
LaLonde, also serving as editor, keeps the story moving, and the emotional and character arcs pay off in a film that brushes up and makes friends with genre without quite losing its rom-com heart.
The Toronto After Dark crowd will no doubt welcome this film, and if you’re looking for a real date night film in this year’s festival selection, this is the one. Cuddle up, share a bag of popcorn, have a laugh, and talk paradoxes, relativity, temporal physics, and being in the moment.
What are you watching After Dark?