Garrett Bradley’s Time is quite unassuming. Through the use of video messages spanning 21 years, Bradley shows how time’s impact on us all isn’t necessarily quantifiable. Numbers become irrelevant. The void or loss as time slips from us is everything. Think about it for a second. When we lose a loved it could be five days after the fact, but that void feels cavernous. Bradley’s subject in Time is Sibil Fox Richardson, waiting for her husband to release from the state penitentiary for far too long.
Absence and void go hand in hand. It forces a young mother to raise six boys without their father. It rips away the experience of these young children living typical lives. Some might argue that typical for Richardson’s six boys likely was not having that male figure around. Time doesn’t seek to make the argument that no evil deed should go unpunished. Bradley is attempting to show that there is a line where these excessive jail sentences commonly cross a line. It leaves audiences wondering if the punishment matches the crime.
While Fox certainly isn’t arguing that her action didn’t warrant punishment, when is it enough? Especially in the case of a first-time offender, which both of them were. Fox got out three years into a twenty-year prison sentence. Her husband is now twenty years into a sixty-five-year sentence for armed robbery. The documentary is at it’s strongest during those quiet moments Fox has on camera. We get to see the emotional toll this ordeal has had on her. Keep in mind; she had six-children left with her mother to start serving her sentence. Then suddenly, upon her release, she’s thrust into navigating being a single parent while always continuing to work for her husband’s release. What stood is how many times we saw Mrs. Fox have to bite her tongue to avoid expressing her displeasure with the constant delays and runaround she faced on the telephone as she tirelessly worked for his release. It certainly speaks to the perceived bias that African Americans feel is rampant in the Justice system.