August 11, 2023 / Well Go USA
Starring: Judy Greer, Edi Gathegi, Payman Maadi, Faithe Herman
Directed By: Jared Moshe
Sophie (Judy Greer) is virtually drowning in grief after losing her husband (Edi Gathegi) in an accident, but after learning of a top-secret time-bending machine, she will be faced with an impossible choice—and unforeseeable consequences.
Written By Darren
Rating 3.5 out of 5
Aporia is a thought provoking, emotionally charged work of science fiction grounded by a sublime lead performance from Judy Greer, resulting in one of the most intriguing films of the year so far.
Too often, Hollywood only greenlights blockbuster science fiction films, that even though they can have great ideas at play in them, they often get lost behind massive amounts of special effects and extravagant action sequences. Those films miss what made the genre so spellbinding: challenging ideas, imperfect characters and engaging narratives that do not need to rely on flashy visuals. It’s in this realm of storytelling where smaller budget science fiction thrives, and that is exactly what writer-director Jared Moshé has conjured up in his latest film: a mesmerizing experience that takes you on a thought provoking and emotional ride from start to finish.
Aporia means either “an irresolvable internal contradiction or a logical disjunction”, and that perfectly captures the story and themes of this film. After losing her husband in a drunk driving accident, Sophie has struggled to raise her daughter while working full time, at the same time as trying to manage the grief of losing the love of her life. But when her husband’s best friend and fellow physicist presents Sophie with a machine that can change the past, Sophie is faced with an impossible choice: change the past to save her husband but at great expense. However, as Sophie quickly learns, a simple change has a ripple effect across time, changing the past and present as she knows it, making her confront how much she is willing to risk to save the man she loves.
The screenplay is full of rich themes of grief and guilt, while dissecting the dilemma of having the power to change the course of history and the cost of being able to do so. Moshé anchors these ideas to Sophie’s grief that she experienced for a full year living without her husband, confronting both her and the audience with the question of how far will you go to save the one you love. While the screenplay goes in a direction you expect given the story’s premise, the morality discussions that occur throughout engages the audience and will have you debating the film’s central question as the plot progresses. With the emotions of grief, joy and loss that Sophie faces over the course of the film at the center of the thematic exploration, Moshé creates a compelling story that is easy to connect with that never for a second sacrifices the richness of its discussion, challenging the audience to confront how they would react in such a situation given the consequences that Sophie faces for her actions. And avoiding the cliche Hollywood ending, Moshé provides enough closure for the audience while leaving it open for discussion as to what has transpired by the end of the film, like such classic science fiction films like Inception and Blade Runner.
The reason to watch this film is Judy Greer’s spellbinding lead performance as Sophie. For years, Greer has been one of the most unsung actresses in the business, with memorable supporting turns in films like 13 Going on 30 and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but she truly shows her brilliance as an actress in Aporia. Bringing a raw, emotional vulnerability to the film, Greer captures the heartbreak of Sophie as well as the moral dilemma she faces over the film with true honesty. Within seconds of meeting her character, Greer instantly bonds the audience to both her character and the story, investing them in the emotional stakes of the story and ensuring a rewarding yet heavy watch. It is truly an outstanding performance from start to finish, begging the question of why Greer is not a household name.
While there is no distracting from Greer’s outstanding performance, the supporting cast is very good. Edi Gathegi is warm and welcoming as Sophie’s husband Mal, helping craft the emotional connection to the film as once you meet him, you understand why Sophie is willing to risk everything to save him. Payman Maadi is a great contrast to Greer and Gathegi as their friend Jabir, bringing a more methodical and objective oriented view to the situations faced by the characters compared to the emotional views of Sophie and Mal. And like she was in This Is Us and the Shazam!, Faithe Herman is an absolute delight as Greer and Gathegi’s daughter with her bubbly and endearing personality.
Like all good science fiction, there is lots to think about in Aporia. The subject matter of the power to change history and the direction Jared Moshé takes is fascinating and provides a perspective that we don’t often see in films, though it is the performances that make the film worth your time. Thanks to the truly stunning turn from Judy Greer as Sophie which grounds and creates the core of the story, Aporia is an emotionally resonant film that will have you pondering its ideas in the best way possible, even after the credits have begun rolling.