Home in Time: time travel, the consequences of bad behaviour, free will and reconciliation in comedy sci-fi short

Patrick Hagarty, “Home in Time” (2019)

In time for Christmas, this amusing sci-fi comedy short about a married couple preparing for family Christmas at their home being suddenly inundated with relatives and other visitors, most of them uninvited – because they’ve all come from the future! Kate (Sarah Allen) and Felix (Kristian Bruun) are just about to make out on the couch after putting toddler daughter Zoe to bed when an obnoxious and drunk stranger (Patrick McKenna) lobs in – he turns out to be Felix himself from the year 2044. Hot on his heels are time-travel technicians who have organised his trip; continually fine-tuning the co-ordinates on their portable laptops, they encounter various hitches that affect the older Felix’s tour. Kate’s mother turns up and not long after, another group of time-travel tourists turns up. The adult Zoe (Jacqueline Byers) also appears; both she and the vintage-2044 Felix are horrified to see each other.

Whether invited or uninvited, the various guests start getting high on Kate’s punch spiced with a drug that the vintage-2044 Felix has secreted into the punchbowl and before you know it, they’re literally dancing all over the sofa and other furniture, and Kate starts making out in the backroom with one of the time travel technicians Skylar (Cara Gee). Only Zoe remains sober enough to drag the older Felix into the dining room where Felix admits the real reason for returning to this particular point in time and space: this was the last happy time he had with Kate and Zoe before things turned ugly at home and in his marriage.

The animated special effects are well done and the time travel paradox, in which characters meet their future selves and wonder out loud how such meetings affect the future, is dealt with fairly well if a bit unconvincingly. Characters are apparently taken into a special timeline detour to meet their future selves and are then returned to the main timeline when the meeting is over. It seems that this film doesn’t take place in a quantum mechanics universe (in which new, alternate dimensions are born every time a decision is made or not made, and dimensions come into being after the decision is made while others are born after the decision is not made) but instead in a universe where it seems everything has been predetermined. The very actions of the people at this particular Christmas party might indeed precipitate the very consequences that led to Kate and Felix’s relationship breaking down and Zoe turning into a real stinker of a kid and adult.

The acting from the ensemble cast is fine though they are all let down by the plot which goes nowhere. At least the older Felix and Zoe come to some accommodation – though it seems that whatever agreement they come to doesn’t lead to Felix amending his will. The film makes some amends for its messy plot and the party antics at the very end when the time travel technicians finally get their gizmos going and make their way back even further in time to the first decade of the 1900s and into an art school in Vienna where they single out a young art student with a toothbrush moustache for special treatment …

Themes such as reconciliation, the consequences of one’s thoughtless actions having long-term devastating impacts, the nature of the universe in which we live and how this affects the concept of free will, even to the extent of implying that free will doesn’t exist at all, flit through the film. The notion of time travel and how it might be used as just another form of leisure entertainment is milked mainly for laughs.