Time parents guide

Time Parent Guide

A broader scope would be more interesting, but this personal documentary has its own power.

Overall B+

Digital on Demand: A documentary following Fox Rich and her campaign to have her husband, Rob, released from prison where he's serving 60 years for an armed robbery.

Release date October 16, 2020

Violence A
Sexual Content A
Profanity C-
Substance Use B

Why is Time rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Time PG-13

Run Time: 81 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Twenty years ago, Sibil “Fox Rich” Richardson and her husband Rob made a major mistake: they participated in the armed robbery of a small bank to get money to look after their six kids. Fox served three and a half years in prison, but Rob was sentenced to 60 years. Since then, Fox has been busy raising their family, running a business, fighting for prison reform, and trying to see her husband freed from that extended sentence. Sound easy?

This is a very focused, very personal documentary. Much of the footage was taken by Fox as home-video for Rob, so he could catch up on all the things he missed in prison. While Fox is certainly passionate about the issues of prison reform and injustice, the film doesn’t look beyond Fox and Rob’s personal experiences. There’s no third person narration, no interviews with experts or anything like that: just Sibil Richardson, trying to make her way in an increasingly unkind world.

Time is certainly emotionally impactful and effective in the story it wants to tell, but I think it would have benefitted from a broader perspective. Richardson is unbelievably charismatic and hard-working, but hers is hardly the only family affected by these issues. Given its sub-90-minute runtime, the movie could afford to show more of the scope of the problem without dragging itself out.

As with most documentaries, this is broadly suitable for family viewing apart from a few instances of profanity – not that it would be terribly interesting to children. I think this is best suited to kids in middle or high school, simply because they’re more likely to be aware of these issues and interested in first person experiences of the penal system.

While I wish the filmmakers had broadened their focus, Time certainly works as an important look at the personal and familial effects of mass incarceration. Taken in conjunction with other docs on the issue, it lends a very human lens to the discussion – and an incredible one at that. The determination and never-say-die spirit of Fox Rich are astounding. With the amounts she has of both qualities, I think she’d stand a decent chance of changing the color of the sky by force of will alone.

Directed by Garrett Bradley. Starring Paolo Ikonomi and Fox Rich. Running time: 81 minutes. Theatrical release October 16, 2020. Updated

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Time
Rating & Content Info

Why is Time rated PG-13? Time is rated PG-13 by the MPAA

Violence: There are references to bank robbery.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There is one use of extreme profanity, four uses of scatological profanity, and occasional use of terms of deity and mild cursing.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An adult character is briefly shown smoking.

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Time Parents' Guide

Why did Robert receive such a long sentence? What is meant by “mass incarceration”? What kind of difficulties to people face in prison? How about when they get out? What kind of reforms have been suggested for the criminal justice system? Do you think they would be an improvement? Who profits from the US prison system as it exists now? Do you think it’s right that anybody profits from this system?

Robert was incarcerated in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola. Why does it have that nickname? What kind of work are inmates expected to do? How does that tie the modern prison to it’s past?

For links related to these topics, check out the following:

Brennan Center for Justice: The History of Mass Incarceration

ACLU: Mass Incarceration

Vox: Mass incarceration in America, explained in 22 maps and charts

Equal Justice Initiative: Criminal Justice Reform

National Review: Justice Reform: A Surprisingly Hot Topic

Listverse: 10 Shocking Facts About Angola Prison and Its Violent Past

Mother Jones: God’s Own Warden

 

Home Video

Related home video titles:

The Netflix documentary 13th takes a more concentrated look at the broader problems of race and mass incarceration in the United States and the effect that is having on the country. On the fictional side of things, a black family struggles to overturn a wrongful conviction in If Beale Street Could Talk.