Screened as part of the Future Cult strand at Glasgow Film Festival 2020, this time bending flick is fascinated with people, not science. A heart-warming and authentic experience, James Vs His Future Self is more than just a feel-good film; under its nerdy exterior lays a charming tale of humanity and self-reflection.
James (played by the fantastic Jonas Chernick), is a scientist on the unhinged brink of discovering time travel. Confronted by himself (literally, his future self) in an attempt to prevent him from reaching his goal, what unfolds for James is an emotional endeavour of self-preservation. It’s really the women in his life— both his sister and his best friend— who go above and beyond to support James, which is where the film starts to find its footing in its witty rom-com characteristics.
James Vs His Future Self shows a soft, realistic perspective of a man at war with himself and the simple value of human connection. All tied together skilfully with some noteworthy performances from the leads Daniel Stern as future James and Jonas Chernick as present James. Frances Conroy is also a hilarious addition to this compelling character piece.
Presenting itself as a comedy, the film is enjoyable and spirited. The attempts at emotional scenes lay somewhere between charismatic and cringey, but it whole-heartedly makes up for this in its witty feel— with the science fiction elements merely background noise in its ultimate message of preserving humanity.
The blend of sci-fi with comedy and drama serves up a mixture rich in philosophy, awkward mantras and crude jokes. A light-hearted time travelling tale, James Vs His Future Self is one that doesn’t take itself too seriously and works perfectly if you don’t take it too seriously either.
Overall the film attempts to say something profound but just falls slightly short; nevertheless it is still an uplifting watch. It’s a narrative that calls for taking responsibility for yourself and your happiness and appreciating the people around you. James Vs His Future Self is an emotional and tender experience; an experience that will keep you smiling throughout but fails to leave a lasting impression.
James Vs. His Future Self screened at the Glasgow Film Festival 2020 on March 4th and 5th
by Kelsie Dickinson