Updated: Dec 7, 2019
As with all movies on this website, our goal is not to provide a complete synopsis of the film, but rather to document how the movie relates to the meaning of life. With that said, be forewarned, there are still spoilers ahead.
Timescape was a movie written and directed by Daniel Ziegler and was released in 2014. The movie is about a 25-year-old physicist named James Pratt (played by Bryan Raiton). James becomes famous as the first time traveler and explains that when you time travel, you are just visiting another copy of the universe—upon which there are an infinite number. He explains that time travel is possible due to the nature of consciousness. You can travel back in time, but never into the future (because it is not yet written—except it is, due to the infinite nature of time—hence the film contradicts itself several times). James also explains that there is no time, it is only the transfer of consciousness between records (here again the film contradicts itself several times).
Upon announcing that he is a time traveler in front of a group of scientists and on TV, he asks, ...why do we do what we do? Have you ever asked yourselves that? Most of you would say, 'well we search for knowledge where there is none, answer the questions that need to be answered.' But do we know why? Why is it so important that we answer these questions? ... the reason why is because it gives us something to reach for.
After James makes his announcement to the world, humanity plunges into deep despair. Given that there is a myriad of copies of each of us out there, suicide rates increase because people cannot cope, or fathom the point of life.
The government is not happy with what happens and forces James to tell the world that he lied and the entire story was a hoax. This in return plunges him into an existential crisis saying: All the things I did to get to where I am today are now rendered pointless. What meaning I found in my life is ripped away from me and I am back to square one. And shortly after in an alternative reality where his best friend creates the first time machine, All of my hopes and dreams, the meaning of my existence, the lifelong race for the time machine was over.
So it is clear that James at this point in his life believes work and fame give meaning to life, one without the other to him renders life meaningless. To get to where he was, he had committed many crimes, and he struggles to cope with those on top of the existential crisis.
Near the end of the film, he travels all the way back to the beginning of the universe, where there is only a void. From within the darkness, he begs God to tell him what it all means. No one responds of course. But he does come to the realization that love, family, and being able to grow old with your family are the keys. The question is not important he says on his deathbed. Or in his own words, All my life, I've been asking 'why'? The answer was right in front of me. Life's too beautiful to question. The only reason I'd ever go back now is to show myself that it doesn't matter 'why', but what you do with it.
He then goes into the infinite nature of time, and how everything that has happened, will happen again and again and again for all eternity. Including every mistake we've made, and every happy moment we have experienced. Destiny gives us meaning.
Overall, the film appeared to be of the level just slightly above that of a student production. The acting was subpar, the videography was also poor in many cases, the story was okay—but a bit convoluted due to the contradictions. Finally, the science behind it all was just horrid. Yet, it does have a strong message on meaning, stop questioning, and start living for the right things.
Overall - 4
Meaning of Life Relevance - 6
Uniqueness – 3
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