Review: James vs His Future Self

James vs His Future Self

If you had the ability to travel through time, what would you do? The possibilities are endless for research scientist, James when he is forced to make a life altering choice after receiving a dire warning from the future.

James is obsessed with perfecting his theory to travel through time. He has a PHD in experimental particle physics, but his obsession is so consuming that he neglects various aspects of his personal life including his friend Courtney and the urge to eat. He’s constantly distracted, rarely looks people in the eye, and relies on others to do the mundane things in life for him. Among those taking care of James is his sister, Meredith. She is his primary caregiver and tries to get him to find time to spread their parent’s ashes who passed away over a decade earlier.

James’ mundane life takes a turn when he is picked up by an Uber driven by a man who seems to know quite a bit about the ways of the world, science and James himself. The stranger warns James that the path he’s on will only lead to disappointment and despair. The words of wisdom have no impact until it’s revealed that the stranger is actually James, several years older, who has come back from the future to knock some sense into his younger self.

What follows is an entertaining struggle between free will and destiny, past vs present and realizing what’s truly important. Future James, masterfully played with comedic weariness by Daniel Stern, tries to teach James how to avoid his eventual fate but his younger self proves to be a difficult student. Sometimes it’s hard being your own Yoda. Things begin to go off the Hadron Collider loop when young James’ selfishness and obsession leads him into a confrontation with his older self.

The script by Jonas Chernick and director Jeremy LaLonde is witty, filled with quirky characters and buoyed by strong performances by Stern, Chernick as young James and Cleopatra Coleman (Courtney). Tommie-Amber Pirie (Meredith) and the delightful Frances Conroy (Dr. Rowley) provide most of the laughs and round out the cast of misfits in James’ world. In fact, Meredith and Courtney might be the most grounded characters in James vs His Future Self.

A time travel movie with little time travel, James vs His Future Self examines how easy it is to miss the things that are in plain sight. James’ quest to unlock the secrets to time travel causes him to ignore what it means to be human. Travelling through time proves to be the easiest feat in Chernick and LaLonde’s engaging tale. It’s the paths that people choose and rectifying the fallout of those actions that presents the greatest challenge.

James vs his Future Self is available now on Bell, Shaw and iTunes with Rogers and Telus soon to follow.