Still Time (Era Ora) is an Italian-language Netflix Original movie directed by Alessandro Aronadio and written by Aronaido and Renato Sannio that begs us to wonder whether we can ever really change as Dante (Edoardo Leo) gets stuck living only his birthday every year.
Dante’s the kind of guy who lives his life with the confidence that nothing is wrong and everything he does is the unquestionably right choice. He works hard and makes decisions without a second thought. So when he goes to sleep after what he thinks is a wonderful 40th birthday party but perhaps his partner Alice (Francesca Cavallin) might quietly beg to differ, he hasn’t a worry on his mind. Until he wakes up and it’s his birthday again, only one year later. The next 100 minutes or so will see Dante repeating this same loop again and again for many years to come, living only through his birthday with no clue what happened in the year since.
This time loop is both a unique spin on the concept and an impeccable allegory for living one’s life without living in the moment. The jump in time can happen at any moment, not just when the day ends, so Dante can be having a conversation with Alice, or his father, or his best friend one minute, close a door, knock again, and it can be a whole year later. You get an audio cue by way of a ticking clock, and his facial hair comedically keeps changing between a full beard, a mustache, and a clean shave. Really, the movie as a whole is excellent at showing how time is passing through the hair, sets, and nifty editing. But the lack of regularity and the fact that time keeps moving instead of repeating gives an extra creative spin to Still Time.
But as an allegory, this is where the movie shines the hardest. Dante simply cannot make up the lost time. It’s funny to watch him flounder over his own daughter he’s barely met’s name, or get told he just did something he suggests doing a few days prior. But it’s a constant reminder that once today becomes yesterday, we can’t get it back. A lot of the running relationship threads feel like they don’t perhaps bare out as fully as you’d like them to, but I think that’s on purpose too, reminding the viewer that we only have so much time with the people we love, but also reminding them that there can always be tomorrow too.
The biggest question the movie poses is whether people can change. Dante spends the movie trying to break out of this time loop so he can get back to living his life, but at every turn, is reminded that he’s stuck in this loop precisely because he’s trying to rush through life and return to his normal life where he prioritized work over himself or the people he loves. He doesn’t notice the small things that make life interesting and make our relationships richer. With every new birthday he lives, he’s reminded that you don’t just say you’re making a change on one day and go about living the same way as ever the next 364. Change requires sacrifice and it requires attention.
Again, there are pieces of satisfaction that I felt like Still Time missed out on, on account of how quickly it has to move through every birthday to fit its point into a reasonable amount of time. I found myself wishing the movie could slow down some and let us see more of how exactly it is that Dante is learning his lessons instead of just assuming he is. There has to have been a great pain and confusion living only one day over and over. But rather than dwell, the movie keeps moving forward, in sync with its own message that we can only focus on what’s happening now, not regret the past or fear the future. The movie jokes off the changes in technology and culture rather than letting them become a source of additional distress and ultimately, delivers exactly the amount of visible change necessary to remain open-ended about how one can go about slowing down their own lives a la Dante.
Still Time is a really great allegory for how bad we all are at living in the present and how hard but necessary it is to change our selves before it’s too late. Where it tends to leave a bit to be desired among the relationships and demonstrable changes Dante goes through, it’s all left vague intentionally and to great effect.
Still Time is streaming now on Netflix.
Still Time (Era Ora)
- Rating - 7.5/107.5/10
Still Time is a really great allegory for how bad we all are at living in the present and how hard but necessary it is to change ourselves before it’s too late.