TiMER, the Best Little Indie on Netflix

TiMER A Netflix Gem | Lexie WinslowArguably, the best part about streaming entertainment services today is the ability to find modest, well-made independent movies (and albums and web shows) that would have been impossible to discover through traditional channels. Case in point: TiMER. Without Netflix, I never would have found this gem. But one boring evening I gave this relatively anonymous indie a chance, and I’m glad I did, because it’s basically the sweetest, smartest little movie you’ve never heard of.

The basic premise of TiMER is that the whole world is obsessed with a device that affixes to the wrist and, using amazing technology, identifies the exact moment when you will find your soulmate. It’s a little stopwatch counting down the seconds until you meet your destiny.

Let that sink in for a second. It’s a Fitbit that, rather than monitoring your vitals today, flashes the time and date when you will meet your one true love, and emits a tinkling alarm when that long-awaited event comes to pass. This assertion got my brain whirring, questioning the logic from all angles, to the point that I became a little distracted. Wearable tech that can analyze your exact body chemistry when you’re in love? Okay. A networking device that identifies your likeliest romantic match based on said chemistry? Sure, I’ll go along. A wristwatch that counts down to the moment in the future when you and your soulmate will set eyes on each other for the same time? Let’s stop for a second. Why not just give me his name so we can find each other right now? And how on earth can my TiMER know that some stranger and I will be in the same place at the same time 20 years from now? Can’t we do more with this psychic GPS technology than just match-make?

Now that the second-guessing is out of the way, it’s time to suspend the disbelief and jump right into this fun and funny story. The plot is so satisfying because it doesn’t just let the sappiest version of this premise play out (life is bleak, boy meets girl, happiness ensues!). Instead, it challenges the central conceit in a ton of entertaining ways.

In this version of the near-future, getting your TiMER implanted has (of course) become a huge rite of passage at 16. But then what? You end up orienting your life around whatever date pops up on that little screen. What if it says you’ll meet your soulmate in two days? What if it says you’ll meet your soulmate in 45 years? What if your soulmate hasn’t bought in to the TiMER fad, and so yours is simply blank, meaning any man without a TiMER is potentially your soulmate and you agonizingly have to date the old fashioned way? What if you’re already in a relationship, and get TiMERs for fun, only to have the devices reveal that you are not meant to be together? Can you really trust love delivered by a smartwatch? What about the people you fall for along the way before your TiMER goes off? You know from the start that this person isn’t The One. What does it mean to fall for a non-soulmate? Is any relationship before you meet your soulmate cheating? If your life doesn’t “really” start until your soulmate shows up, what do you do with those single years?

I love the thoughtfulness of this movie. Through the plot device of this technological device, the characters are pushed into the relationship extremes of casual hook ups or lifetime commitments – but that dynamic doesn’t actually feel so far off from the dating scene today. Through that lens, TiMER questions the various meanings and pressures that we place on all relationships (romantic, platonic, family, and undefined) in a world where our lives, especially young women’s, can be unduly oriented around marital status. TiMER challenges the viewer to explore the significance of loved ones that aren’t The One, as well as how to define yourself and your values in a state of long-term romantic detachment.


Image via IMPAwards.

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