Directed by: Garrett Bradley
Featuring: Sibil Fox Richardson, Robert G. Richardson
Reflecting on Garrett Bradley’s Award-Winning documentary, “Time,” I can’t help but reflect on my own life; the struggles that I’ve experienced. That’s the beauty of our lives – our uniqueness gives us the power to shape the ebbs and floes our paths follow.
For some, though, those ebbs and floes are not as consistent or as strong. The situations we find ourselves in alter the currents of time. Such as is the case with Sibil Fox Richardson and her husband, Rob. Rob is serving a 60-year prison sentence for armed robbery.
“Time” was finished in black and white, to carry the film’s feeling that every decision, every moment has a right and a wrong. The documentary, which intersperses filmed footage with home video footage, tells a story of a fearless, powerful woman; someone determined to make a life for herself. There’s a strong sense of family, honor, and staying the course until her fight results in victory.
There is something honorable in watching how Sibil, also known as Fox Rich, strives to be an entrepreneur while raising her six children, while she works to get her husband out of prison.
The story details why their situation exists, and Fox exhibits remorse for her part in the sordid affair. As the documentary points out, the trouble is that the prison system is unjustly holding her husband. To be clear, neither Fox nor Garrett suggests that Rob is innocent.
More to the point, the current state of the prison system is such that it has turned the incarcerated into slaves, and for Rob’s role in the crime, the Justice System sentenced him to 60 years without the possibility of parole.
“Time” is a double entendre; it reflects on Fox Rich’s efforts to free her husband. It also takes a more in-depth look at their kids’ lives; kids who’ve grown up without a father, a father who’s spent time in prison only knowing his kids without seeing them.
More than that, though, “Time” manages to capture the eddies and currents of time, it’s passage marked by how we react to each moment, the rightness or wrongness of each moment. “Time” also captures the loss of time, the loss of opportunity that our prison system places on offenders. To take a look at Rob through the home videos, you wouldn’t see a violent man, certainly not one who could draw such a harsh punishment.
The choice to finish the film in black and white adds a visual context to Fox Rich’s struggle against a form of oppression that most would overlook, or not even consider; it compels you to consider the implications of its message fully.
It manages to offer hope in an exceptionally unique way, through the combination of home video and filmed footage. That hope, someday, needs to translate into change into a system that rehabilitates, and, ultimately, reclaims lost time.
“Time” won the Directing Award in the 2020 Sundance U.S. Documentary competition, marking the first time an African American woman has won the prestigious award. “Time” is a powerful statement on the prison system’s condition while also reminding us to respect every moment we get.
It is now in select theatres and streaming on Amazon Prime starting October 16.