THE STORY – Since losing her husband Mal (Edi Gathegi) in a drunk-driving incident, Sophie (Judy Greer) has struggled to manage crippling grief, a full-time job, and the demands of parenting her devastated teenage daughter (Faithe Herman). When her husband’s best friend Jabir (Payman Maadi), a former physicist, reveals that he has been building a time-bending machine that could restore her former life, Sophie will be faced with an impossible choice — and unforeseeable consequences.
THE CAST – Judy Greer, Edi Gathegi, Payman Maadi, Faithe Herman, Whitney Morgan Cox & Veda Cienfuegos
THE TEAM – Jared Moshé (Director/Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME – 104 Minutes
Would you do it if you could resurrect someone you love at the cost of taking another life and changing the world around you? That’s the question at the core of Jared Moshé’s thought-provoking and tender sci-fi film “Aporia.”
Time travel, science, and confusing words are often found in films such as this, but thankfully Moshé steers away from the nitty gritty to focus more on a family trying to accept their fates in this moving tale. “Aporia” will tug at the heartstrings in several ways, thanks to a beautifully grounded performance from Judy Greer and a touching script that examines what happens when humans tinker too much with the past.
Sophie (Greer) is having a hard time coping with her late husband Mal’s (Edi Gathegi) death due to a drunk driving incident, as well as connecting with her daughter Riley (Faithe Herman) about it. The warm hues of their past life, as seen in the opening scene with Sophie and Mal talking about visiting the Grand Canyon together, are replaced with the cold blues of reality, and Sophie and Riley would do anything to get their old life and family back.
Lucky for them, they know Jabir (Payman Maadi), Mal’s best friend and a former Iranian physicist who left everything behind when his homeland’s regime murdered his family. He’s been working on a machine that was supposed to be used for time travel but instead can kill someone in the past. How it actually works is not really explained, but it also doesn’t really matter. If they can kill the man responsible for Mal’s death, there’s a chance that Sophie’s family can be together again.
With a whole lot of faith and hope, Mal returns, and all seems well in the world until Sophie realizes another family was destroyed in the process – Kara (Whitney Morgan Cox) and Aggie (Veda Cienfuegos), the wife and daughter of the drunk driver. As happy as Sophie is that her life is back to normal, the remorse she feels over what they did continues to grow. Jabir and Mal, however, realize the endless tragedies the machine can reverse – as well as reality as they know it.
Moshé’s decision to spare us heavy scientific details for a more rooted-in-reality family drama works so well in this film. It depicts a very real scenario that, if this technology were to exist, humans would absolutely grapple with: Is it right to bring back people from the dead at the expense of someone else’s life? While Jabir and Mal might not necessarily be concerned about that dilemma – one even points out it’s not about who they kill but who they save – Sophie’s struggle with it all feels very real. Greer gives us a deeply emotional look at how many would likely deal with this situation, especially as Sophie does what she can to help Kara and Aggie. It’s great to see Greer dominate a dramatic starring role just as well, as she stands out as a supporting player in comedies like “13 Going on 30” and “Arrested Development.” Gathegi and Maadi also bring very complex performances to the screen, as Mal has to grapple with his return, and Jabir strives to save his family.
Moshé crafts a solid script that tackles the many moral dilemmas in the film in a number of ways. If a machine such as this did exist, would humans use it for the right reasons? One would hope most would be like Jabir, who has files of shootings, drunk driving accidents, and other tragedies he’s hoping to prevent, but it’d be too naive not to think about the selfish and sinister people in this world too.
“Aporia” isn’t the most high-concept or creative regarding its sci-fi elements, which might leave some genre fans disappointed, and some sloppy audio edits are found throughout the film. But, ultimately, “Aporia” is more about the performances, emotions, and moral questions at play than all the machinery. Moshé finds a way to ground this unbelievable story and leave us wondering what we’d do if faced with this situation. It might be an easy decision to bring back a loved one, but would it be as easy to deal with the consequences?