Heartwarming and breathtaking: Review of All the Time in the World


As it played, All the Time in the World alternately warmed my heart and took my breath away. From the reactions of the audience in the crowded theatre, I knew I certainly was not the only one feeling this way.
Last night, I was fortunate to attend the world premiere of this documentary, a Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) film CPAWS-BC has partnered with. All the Time in the World tells the story of a family of five spending nine winter months living in the bush of the Yukon, disconnecting with their busy lives to reconnect with themselves, nature, and one another.

Image by Suzanne Crocker

You may expect that a film praising the simplicity of life wouldn’t have much of a story, but I was pleasantly surprised and delighted. It is not a storyline of the traditional kind, of course, but there certainly is a story – the universal story of family, one which all of us can relate to. Watching the kids on screen use their imagination, coming up with creative ways to have fun in the long winter, brought back many memories of childhood. The everyday scenes and the children’s innocence were infectiously humourous; they gave the film its essence, while the adults contributed to the gravity of reality. The audience sat in suspense, sharing the mother’s anxiety and helplessness as she waited for her husband’s return through the wilderness. In an age of mobile phones and internet, it was both frightening and refreshing to witness that sort of disconnectedness.

Image by Suzanne Crocker
Director/producer Suzanne Crocker did an astounding job with the cinematics, considering she had no traditional camera crew and limited shooting equipment. The film’s aesthetics were gorgeous, bringing out the splendours of the Yukon and illustrating the tremendous power of nature. I could hear the collective gasps and sighs from the audience as they watched the river freeze over, and again as the floes of melting ice rushed down the current in giant chunks. The way the golden sheen glides over the snow as the sun made its appearance made me hold my breath. My friend Maud, an exchange student from France, marveled to me after we came out of the theatre: “Canada is so beautiful!”
After the film, Suzanne came on stage to answer questions. Her family, who had driven through a blizzard from Dawson City to be in Vancouver, joined her. One thing she mentioned, which struck me in the film as well, was how they felt at home in the bush. They felt that their pets (two cats and a dog) even seemed like they belonged in the wild, and were healthier and happier. In the film, they made use of nature: breaking ice for their water, transporting their gear by canoe on the river, making ice cream out of snow, and essentially relying on what nature offered. It was a good reminder that we’ve become so dependent on technology and so caught up in the busy pace that we’re missing a lot of this real life education: basic survival knowledge and an appreciation of nature.

The family, three years after their adventure in the bush. Image by Michelle SzImage by Michelle Sz

As you can tell, I enjoyed the film immensely, and if you’re looking for a change of pace, I highly recommend you go see it. All the Time in the World is screening again on Saturday, Oct. 4th at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. For tickets and more information, check out the VIFF website and http://allthetimeintheworld.ca/

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Image by Suzanne Crocker

All images courtesy of Suzanne Crocker unless otherwise stated.