A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The idea that time is precious is a good message for all, as is the notion that no one should ever die so that someone else can become richer. But the movie's moral is muddied by the main characters' inconsistent behavior. How can they judge who merits the time and who doesn't? Still, despite their dire situation, Will and his mother love each other unconditionally and are always willing to spare some time for each other and those who are even less fortunate.
Positive Role Models
At times, Will is a good role model: He's a loving son, a generous man, and a good friend. His mother is also a sweet and kind woman who gives her son time she can't really spare. The manager of the local mission gives most of his time away to the needier, and even Sylvia grows to understand the plight of the timeless.
Violence & Scariness
Plenty of shootings (some at close range, though there's little blood); one suicide. Most people die when their countdown clock hits zero, and this can happen to anyone -- particularly the poor -- at any time if they can't find someone to give or lend them some extra time until their next time-paying job. The dead are shown peppered throughout the streets; in one heartbreaking scene, two characters miss being reunited by a second, and it's just long enough for one to die in the other's arms. Those who do have more than enough time can still die if someone steals their time or if they're injured beyond repair in an accident, by a gun shot, etc. Most of the characters who die in the movie have their "clocks cleared," although a few are shot.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Will and Sylvia hook up pretty quickly; they flirt and go skinny dipping (her nude bottom is shown under the water) before they even have their first kiss. Later, after their first passionate kiss, they end up staying together and making out. They play strip poker on a bed, and Sylvia is obviously losing -- she's down to her lace bra and panties. There's no actual love scene, though, since the couple is interrupted before they can go all the way (although it's clear they've done so off camera). In other scenes, a prostitute propositions a cop and rich women wear tight, revealing outfits.
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Occasional use of words like "s--t," "ass," "damn," and "hell," as well as one memorable "f--k" (said as "un-f--king-believable." "God" and "Jesus"-based exclamations are said several times as well.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink wine, champagne, and hard liquor at social events, a bar, and in private. Will's best friend (literally) drinks himself to death by using all of his bonus "time" on alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sci-fi adventure features a fair bit of violence, twentysomething sexuality, and heavy themes about social equality and injustice that may not be appropriate for tweens interested in seeing a Justin Timberlake movie. Language includes one "f--k," as well as "s--t," "damn," "ass"; violent scenes feature close-range shootings (mostly bloodless), people dropping dead when their clocks reach zero, and one suicide. Sex is implied rather than shown, but there's a skinny-dipping scene with a glimpse of a nude bottom, as well as strip poker and some skimpy lingerie. There's a Robin Hood-esque theme to the second half of the movie, but it's wrapped around a shallower Bonnie-and-Clyde vibe of "let's have fun robbing from the rich." Despite the movie's mixed messages, one lesson is loud and clear: Don't waste your time. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The first half of IN TIME is stylish and original and offers just enough action and punny time jokes to be genuinely entertaining without being over the top. Parading an all-star cast of talented actors, led by the always charismatic Timberlake, the movie is by turns a thriller, a treatise on the unfair distribution of wealth, and a Bonnie and Clyde-meets-Robin Hood caper. Parts are particularly poignant, like a gut-wrenching sequence in which Rachel is running as fast as she can to meet Will before she times out, or when Will sweetly gives his best friend (Johnny Galecki) a decade in tribute to their 10 years of friendship.
But once Will and Sylvia hook up to free the time, the movie's many flaws emerge to bog the action down in unanswered questions. Will's dead father's name is brought up several times, but it's never exactly clear why he was such a revolutionary hero. It's also uncertain when or how the time system started -- if it's a genetic alteration introduced in a dystopian future or something created to keep the masses in slave-like conditions. Some of the relationships, especially Sylvia's with her parents, are especially one-dimensional (it's ludicrous that one of the richest men in the world wouldn't give away time for his one and only daughter). Director Andrew Niccol gets points for the movie's fascinating premise and the exciting cast, but he should have done a better job of sustaining the cool concept and tightening up loose ends. This is one of those entertaining-enough sci-fi movies that it's best not to overthink, or else your time will feel wasted.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.