Jared Moshe’s time travel drama “Aporia” is available to watch from all of your home video timelines.

Grief and regret are often places where time travel films either begin or end. They certainly utilize these emotions because if one were healthy and happy, there’d be no desire to change the outcome. When Aporia first hit my radar, a tale of loss and reclamation, the presumption was that the film would lean on the talents of its cast: Judy Greer (Driven), Edi Gathegi (The Harder They Fall), and Payman Maadi (A Separation). In truth, these actors, strong as they are, elevate the fascinating and moving script by writer/director Jared Moshé (The Ballad of Lefty Brown) which utilizes a small portion of time travel tropes to explore what it means to be a family, what debts we owe one another, and how to reconcile the life we have versus the life we want. After its premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival 2023, Aporia is now coming available for home viewing, complete with a single extended featurette.

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L-R: Judy Greer as Sophie and Edi Gathegi as Mal in APORIA. Photo courtesy of Well Go USA.

Sophie (Greer) is tired. She’s tired of the constant rejection from her daughter Riley (Faithe Herman). She’s tired of the way her boss and her daughter’s school administration can’t seem to understand her grief. She’s tired of the seemingly failed legal system that can’t bring her husband’s killer to justice. It’s been eight months of trying to hold things together and the thoughts of having to face another day without her husband Mal (Gathegi) is exhausting to her physically and psychologically. One day, after helping her with Riley, Mal’s best friend Jabir (Maadi) tells Sophie about a project he and Mal were working on prior to his death which might be able to change Mal’s fate. Everything Jabir and Mal had been working on was only in theory up to this point, but Sophie takes Jabir up on his offer to actually try it out. Neither of them could realize the ripple effect that using the machine creates and the responsibility that comes with it.

To learn about Aporia in a spoiler-free context, head over the initial spoiler-free Fantasia International Film Festival review. Moving forward, we will not hesitate to explore any aspect of Aporia.


Payman Maadi as Jabir Karim in APORIA. Photo courtesy of Well Go USA.

In my initial writeup, I spoke about how Aporia is a time-travel film in which the act or inclusion of time travel operates within the structure of story similarly to Looper (2012), not Back to the Future (1985). As explained in the film, the machine Mal and Jabir built doesn’t move the operator through time to change an outcome, it essentially uses particles as a bullet to hit a specific target, GPS coordinates and all. It’s as exact a science as it can be when one is guessing at a specific person’s precise location X amount of time in the past. In the sole behind the scenes featurette (more on this later), Gathegi hits the nail on the head when he describes the film as creating alternate realities. Put plainly, once Sophie and Jabir use the machine the first time, their reality is gone forever. They will possess all the memories of that life, but no one else will. With each new use of the machine, the world changes further and so does the timeline. As a result, Aporia shifts to be more about the ethics and morality associated with using the machine than it does the science of impacting time. So while both Sophie and Jabir are elated to have Mal back, their choice created suffering for the family belonging to the man who murdered Mal. Thus, in order to try to help them, they use the machine again and change things further. Each change of fate results in a shockwave of changes, ultimately leading to a variation that shakes all three to their core: Herman as Riley is replaced with Elohim Nycalove’s Riley. Here is where the horror lies within Aporia, unexpectedly throwing Sophie and Mal into a situation where they’ve got to parent a child they don’t know.


L-R: Payman Maadi as Jabir Karim and Judy Greer as Sophie Rice in APORIA. Photo courtesy of Well Go USA.

In the lone featurette, Moshé explains how becoming a father inspired aspects of Aporia. He doesn’t get too specific into which part as there are many aspects of the film which touch on the realities of parenting, but it’s in this unexpected twist where Aporia really nails the complexity of parenthood. Though it’s not examined too deeply, one can presume that part of Mal’s frustration over the shift to Nycalove’s Riley is that the child who was like him, interested in engineering, space exploration, etc., was replaced by a theater kid. The connection that he cherished was destroyed and he would remember all that he lost because he has the memories from *his* timeline (the one where he doesn’t die; not necessarily the timeline the film starts in (an extra important distinction)). There’s a terrible pain that comes from not knowing your children, from not understanding their world and what matters to them, especially when you, as the parent, can remember when that wasn’t the case. As performed by Gathegi, Mal all but rejects Riley. Making matter somehow worse, Sophie, who was not so connected to her Riley, finds herself with a child who clings to her like Riley did to Mal, and yet she still fails to live up to the expectation of that relationship, all because she doesn’t remember it. Thus, the only reasonable solution remains and it could potentially set them back on a path to be where they were at the start of the film, but it doesn’t matter because at least whomever they are at that point, whatever they look and act like, they will all be from the same timeline. So when the camera flashes to white as Sophie gets home, that we don’t know who or what awaits her as she crosses the threshold doesn’t matter. For as far as the beginning and end of Aporia is concerned, all is how it should be, reset and whole.


Judy Greer as Sophie Rice in APORIA. Photo courtesy of Well Go USA.

There’s an obvious thing that happens when you become a parent, but it often takes time for folks to reconcile it. With the birth of a child, you and your partner (should you have one), cease to be you as you know yourself and you become *parent*. What you want, what you need, often comes second, third, or fourth to what the child needs. There’s a lot to unpack there, but the point, if you’ll allow me to skip to it, is that Moshé clearly understands this and sneakily lays this as the center of the film, moreso than the death of Mal. Sophie wants Mal back because she loves him and misses him, but she also acknowledges that what she offers Riley isn’t enough for their daughter. It’s a hard thing to come to terms with when your children are any age, that feeling that they’d rather have the other parent over you (not in a “they wish you were dead” way), and that’s what Moshé uses as the push for Sophie to “allow” Jabir to use the machine. It’s also why Sophie convinces Mal, even if it means losing him, that they need to use the machine again in order to enter a timeline where they share their child’s memories. By the end, and partially what makes it so damn powerful is that, in this final sequence, we come to realize that Aporia was never really about Sophie and Mal, or even Jabir’s pain, but about Riley’s and how in order to set things right for her means letting go of themselves.


L-R: Faithe Herman as Riley Rice and Edi Gathegi as Malcolm Rice in APORIA. Photo courtesy of Well Go USA.

As mentioned, bonus features are minimal. However, what’s included is extensive enough to be worth it for folks who enjoy the film. There’s the obvious inclusion of the theatrical trailer and previews for other Well Go USA distributed projects, but there’s also an 18-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that explores everything you could possibly want, leaving you feeling like you gained insight into the making of Aporia. In a mixture of behind-the-scenes footage, stills, and talking head interviews from the cast and crew, we listen to Moshé discuss the idea creation and the exploration of the themes, the cast discuss their feelings on the ideas of the film, how they found unique places in Los Angeles to shoot, and even get a glimpse of some of the film’s in-camera tricks. As someone who appreciated the film without knowing how it was made, the featurette only increased that appreciation.


L-R: Edi Gathegi as Malcolm Rice and Judy Greer as Sophie Rice in APORIA. Photo courtesy of Well Go USA.

In my experience, watching a film that utilizes time travel tropes more than once allows the film to be seen fully, the weight of expectation and the shock that comes from surprise washed away by experience. In this way, if you’ve seen Aporia once, I encourage you to do so again, to see what you missed, what Moshé laid bare before you, yet you could not see then. Greer, Gathegi, and Maadi are just as strong in their performances in the second watch as the first time, perhaps even more so in knowing where their stories lead. There is less sadness, though, and more acceptance; making for a film that maintains its oomph without necessarily requiring so many tissues.

Aporia Special Features:

  • Behind the Scenes (18:32)
  • Trailer (2:27)
  • Three (3) Well Go USA Previews

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital September 12th, 2023.

For more information, head to the official Well Go USA Aporia webpage.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.


Categories: Films To Watch, Home Release, Recommendation

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