Directed by Shawn Gerrard, Space & Time follows academic physicist Siobhan (Victoria Kucher) and her photographer boyfriend Sean (Steven Yaffee) who realize they failed to answer key questions about themselves and their relationship. Their devotion to each other is further tested when Siobhan decides to pursue a career opportunity in Geneva that would cause them to uproot their lives and move into the unknown.
Set in Toronto, Space & Time makes good use of its location by showcasing the city as both charming and daunting. (Incidentally, I always find it somewhat refreshing when Toronto is allowed to play itself onscreen, as opposed to other major cities.) While the relationship between the two leads remains the focus of the film, Toronto itself becomes a character within the film, revealing the contradiction within the urban centre by giving it the feeling of ‘home’ and alienation at the same time. Through his interesting use of lighting and locations, Gerrard gives Toronto an atmosphere of loneliness that makes their story feel very small in a very big world.
While the driving force of the narrative remains the relationship between Siobhan and Sean, the film seems most interested in the emotional journey of a generation that is searching for a better understanding of who they are. Solid chemistry between Kucher and Yaffee help anchor the emotional core of the film as two young adults on a journey to find themselves but fear being stuck. Gerrard’s direction wisely encourages his leads to stay more grounded in their performances, resisting the urge to push them for over-the-top melodrama. As a result, the film maintains a realism that works well in a film that wants to feel like a window into the world of modern millennials as they look to establish themselves.
As they approach their 30th birthdays, both Siobhan and Sean have reached an age where they wonder what it will mean for them to stretch themselves and take steps into the unknown. Battling questions regarding their future together, neither seems fully content in the direction that their lives have taken and they begin to question both their relationship and their own sense of self. Caught in between their love for one another and an uncertain future, Siobhan and Sean fantasize about alternate versions of themselves in other dimensions, wondering how their lives would turn out had they made different decisions. Despite the fact that their lives seem ‘settled’, their spirits continue to wander, looking for something that truly gives life to their souls. In doing so, Space & Time gives voice to those that want to feel as though their lives matter but struggle to understand what that means. Does true success mean landing the big career opportunity? Is life about finding love? Or does real purpose and value lie within one’s understanding of who they are? Space & Time doesn’t always have the answers to these questions but it is an engaging journey that isn’t afraid to ask them.
While only in limited release, there’s a charm to Space & Time that makes the piece worth a look. Strong performances by Kucher and Yaffee give the film a genuine feel that emphasize the importance of a small story in a very large city.
For audio of our interview with Victoria Kucher, click here.
Space and Time opens at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto, ON on February 21st, 2020 and continues to add theatres in subsequent weeks.