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Aporia (2023) — Movie Review

"Aporia" takes a unique spin on time travel, shifting focus from grand, world-altering events to the intimate, personal dilemmas of three individuals. Written and directed by Jared Moshé, the film merges a loose interpretation of time-travel logic with emotionally charged storytelling.

In the movie, Judy Greer portrays Sophie, a long-term care nurse in East Los Angeles who is grappling with the loss of her husband and a strained relationship with her 11-year-old daughter, Riley (Faithe Herman). Sophie's friend Jabir, played by Payman Maadi, is an Iranian exile and former physicist turned ride-share driver. He's haunted by a past that separated him from his family in Iran.

Jabir offers Sophie a way to mend her fractured life through a machine he's built. Though rudimentary, comprised of old metal, cables, and outdated computer hardware, the machine is a mini-time machine. It can eliminate anyone in the past through an abstract wave. Sophie decides to use this machine to remove the drunk driver who killed her husband, Malcolm (Edi Gathegi), from existence.

However, altering the past has complicated consequences. Sophie retains her old memories, unable to connect with new events. Additionally, her actions have had a negative impact on the driver's widow, Kara (Whitney Morgan Cox), and her daughter. This introduces a moral quandary—can murder be justified if it makes someone's past better?

Though it could have benefited from the stylized treatment of filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, "Aporia" isn’t so much about a foolproof plot as it is about the emotional ripple effects of meddling with time. The film doesn't aim to outwit its audience but rather engage them through its flawed, well-meaning characters and their decisions.

Nicholas Bupp's cinematography adds a textured richness, highlighting the everyday backdrop of East Los Angeles where the story unfolds. The film places emphasis on the emotional and ethical aspects of time travel. It focuses on ordinary people and not larger-than-life heroes.

Judy Greer’s performance is particularly compelling. Her portrayal adds layers of depth to the narrative, highlighting the personal stakes over sci-fi spectacle. She exemplifies the human dilemmas at the core of "Aporia," making her character’s second chance feel both extraordinary yet deeply relatable.

The film culminates with a focus on Greer's emotive face, offering a smile of ambiguous comfort. After a narrative laden with complex ethical considerations and life-altering decisions, this subtle expression serves as the most potent special effect, grounding the fantastical elements in real, human emotion. Thus, "Aporia" serves as a story not about the mechanics of time travel, but about its impact on the human heart.