Making the Grades
It’s probably not unusual to have regrets about some past decision or event, and to wonder how life might have been different. However some people become so consumed with the past they can’t move forward.
Such is the case for Marika (Gillian Anderson). She and her son Erol (John Paul Ruttan) dropped her husband Gabe (Rufus Sewell) off at the airport for a business trip when Erol was just a child. But Gabe never came back.
Now an adult, Erol (Haley Joel Osment) still lives with his mother. Marika has been a fragile soul since his father disappeared, and while Erol yearns to move on he worries about leaving her. They still don’t know what happened to Gabe and for twelve years Marika has tortured herself with the potential reasons why he vanished, including the possibility he ran away with another woman. At least twice she’s attempted suicide as a way to end her pain.
Erol chooses to simply ignore the fact that his Dad is missing and never mention him. Yet he feels shortchanged by his parent’s absence. However he is still skeptical when his grandfather Sal (Victor Garber) invites him into his lab and shows him a stack of his father’s research papers. It seems Gabe was working on a time travel machine.
All this while Sal has been trying to recreate Gabe’s invention, but without success. Finally he turns for help from his grandson Erol, who has become a brilliant scientist in his own right. However, not everyone is excited about the possibility of changing the past. Erol’s girlfriend, Grace (Susanna Fournier) is happy with their life and fears what might or might not happen in an altered future.
Moving at an unhurried pace, the script raises questions and quandaries about the ethics of time travel. Who should get a chance to rewrite their history? And what about the others whose lives will also be changed? More importantly, is there any guarantee the new future will be any better? The film also contains at least four strong sexual expletives. Suicide is depicted at least twice, a bloody gunshot is shown and several characters are forced to deal with the death of loved ones.
No doubt, the idea of a do-over seems tempting—especially for those who have lost someone they hold dear. Unfortunately, the wormhole in I’ll Follow You Down often feels like a rabbit hole with no sure way to predict the impact of one simple decision.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about I’ll Follow You Down.
Does the fact that Marika and Erol don’t know what happened to Gabe make it more difficult for them to move on? Is it easier to find closure when the details of a person’s death are known? How does Marika’s anger over her husband’s disappearance affect her daily life?
Whose reality does the time travel in this movie benefit? What changes might occur with a new future? Are Grace’s worries valid?
Why does one character say he can’t commit to his life? How can a person deal positively with life’s challenges and disappointments?