Fantasia Festival: Aporia (2023)

Director: Jared Moshe

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Starring: Judy Greer, Edi Gathegi, Payman Maadi, Faithe Herman

Writer/Director Jared Moshe opens his latest feature on a touching scene, as married couple Sophie (Judy Greer) and Mal (Edi Gathegi) discuss the most beautiful sights they have seen. The conversation moves onto how they would love to visit the Grand Canyon together, although the sweet moment is tinged with tragedy as it is a past memory Sophie holds onto.

It has been a year since Mal's tragic death in a drink-driving accident, and Sophie is struggling to keep things together. While working an emotionally taxing nursing job, she also sees her daughter Riley (Faithe Herman) grappling with grief. Science was something Riley previously bonded with her father over, and Mal's loss leaves the daughter now uninterested in the subject without her father.

Offering help is former physicist Jabir (Payman Maadi), who was Mal's best friend. He approaches Sophie with an experimental machine that he has worked on for years, with the purpose of bending time in a specific way which could potentially bring Mal back. While such a development appears to be a godsend, it cannot be taken lightly when such a decision would bring unforeseeable consequences which cannot be undone.

Within a twisting narrative containing effective turns, Moshe delivers a moving tale centered around grieving people. Front and centre is Greer, magnificently capturing Sophie's struggle to succeed as a mother while missing her departed husband, along with a determination to make things right. If any role proved the Super Yaki t-shirts were correct in Greer deserving more lead roles, this is the one. The moments when she shares the screen with the tremendous Gathegi capture a lovely chemistry, making their love easy to believe in and the heartbreak all the more shattering.

Yet nothing is ever simple, as the characters discover that any changes to the past impacts their present in unforeseen ways. The emotional guilt felt by their decisions leaves the characters to face the consequences of their choices, resulting in poignant sequences highlighting the feature's strengths. What has been crafted is a science-fiction tale where ethical conundrums are tackled with a touching humanity.

Aporia made its World Premiere at Fantasia Festival 2023