The Time Is . . . Now Reveals Little More Than New Age Rhetoric and Lofty Generalizations


“An eye for an eye means everyone ends up blind.” So opens the documentary The Time Is . . . Now, with a tidy example of its problem with logical fallacies: It ignores the fact that most of us have two eyes. Rife with hasty generalizations, tautologies, and false choices, the movie is also tricked out with plenty of visual kitsch, most prominently frame-filling flames reminiscent of The Hunger Games movie poster. Director Vishal Hiraskar wants to “show common people trapped in uncommon situations and how they turn out to be survivors instead of . . . victims.” It takes 20 minutes to get to the stories, animated in A Scanner Darkly style. A Kenyan recounts his brother’s slaying in a brutal ethnic cleansing and credits God for his strength. Another man improbably survives the 9/11 attack, hiding under his desk appealing to Jesus, on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center. We’re meant to believe his faith saved him. Some will treasure this and the film’s overall New Thought/New Age sensibility. But, despite much testimony, these and other survivors and accompanying experts reveal precious little about human resilience in the face of calamity. Narrator Clarke Peters provides more than a sonorous voiceover; he is a visible, lordly guide who dutifully indulges Hiraskar’s fondness for weighty rhetoric and famous quotations. They left out Erasmus, though: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”