While a firm favourite in our household, it is actually frightening how “In Time” is relevant to a number of the different aspects of today’s world. The themes can also be seen in real life. This can include poverty, housing, and even the basic necessity of food. When we first watched this 2011 film, we thought it was a fantastic concept of a potentially dystopian world. However, there are far too many similarities to our own lives than can be ignored.
The cost of living keeps rising to make sure people keep dying. How else could there be men with a million years while most live day to day? But the truth is… there’s more than enough. No one has to die before their time.Henry Hamilton – In Time
Differences between wealth classes
We first meet Will Salas, portrayed by Justin Timberlake, who often lives with less than a day on his clock. Time is used as a currency within the movie. Rent, bills, and even wages are paid by the clock on their arm. If your timer runs out, you die instantly. There is no way of being revived. The majority of people in Will’s district live day-to-day. Due to this, there is little chance of them moving up in the world, leaving them stuck in poverty until they die.
Contrary to this, you have the wealthy individuals who live in Greenwich. This includes Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) who ‘times out’ having given Will his time, as well as Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried), Will’s love interest in the movie. These individuals have more than enough to live a long life, and then some to spare. In fact, Sylvia’s father has millions of years in his vault.
How does this mean “In Time” is relevant to today? Like in the movie, we have many people living in severe poverty. The cost of living keeps on rising, making it harder and harder for people to get by. Rent tends to go up, and people struggle to get on the property ladder thanks to inflation.
At the same time, wages, including the minimum wage, have failed to rise to meet these increases. Considering that some people are now paying at least double for their gas and electric each month, compared to last year, you would think that wages would follow suit. It is interesting to note how many of these companies still declare high profits, even as the population suffers.
Let’s also consider the concept of family. “In Time” is relevant to our society because of how poorer individuals house themselves. Will still lives with his mother, Rachel (Olivia Wilde), and doesn’t have a girlfriend. This may very well be due to how poor the quality of life is in his district, as well as him simply not having the time. Dating costs money. Raising a family costs money. In addition to this, living separately means two lots of rent and bills.
In the real world, many adult children still live at home due to the cost of living in comparison to their wages. If they were to move out, many could only afford a room in a house share. That also isn’t the ideal environment for forging romantic connections and starting a family. It can be more economical for both the parents and the adult children for them to stay put and share those existing costs with one another.
At the same time, less millennials are becoming parents themselves. While, for some, this could be simply because they want to have more time to do what they want in life, and children can be a tie, others may have felt they have no choice. Looking after a child, including housing, feeding, clothing, and enabling them to play, can all cost money. This could mean trying to find funds that they simply do not have. Ergo, some are childless involuntarily, hoping that their financial situation changes.
The basic human right to eat
At the beginning of the movie, Will’s mother gives him half an hour so he can ‘have a decent lunch’. Later on, she fails to have enough for the bus due to inflation. Running home, she tries to get to Will, just barely failing, and ‘times out’ in his arms.
In today’s world, we see parents often going without food themselves so that their child can eat. The United Kingdom is supposedly 13th in rank of first world countries. It is illogical to declare a country is developed and thriving when so many people struggle on a daily basis.
Andrew Niccol wrote, directed, and produced “In Time” back in 2011. Now, 11 years later, we can see the horrifying similarities between his creation and the real world. We also live in a society where there likely is enough money and resources to go round. However, most of it is taken by a select few.
When you think about it, celebrity and wealth culture is truly quite sickening. We have people with numerous homes, who squander money on luxuries, when there are people dying on our streets. The working class will soon become the suffocating class, as they attempt to make ends meet with constant sacrifice.
I recommend this movie to anyone who wants to see for themselves how thin the veil between dystopian fantasy and reality has become. You can watch it on Prime Video here. While the storyline and characters are engaging, you may not be able to help but notice just how close the themes are to your own life.
For a few to be immortal, many must die.Henry Hamilton – In Time