The Time Being Review – Finding the Driving Force of Life

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The Time Being,” from FilmColony and Time Picture Company, connects two artists, at two distinct times, and with reserved intensity brings to the screen a deep examination into the soul of a man/artist.

Distributed by Tribeca Film, “The Time Being” is directed by Nenad Cicin-Sain and stars Frank Langella, Wes Bentley, Ahna O’Reilly, Gina Gallego, Sarah Paulson and Aiden Lovekamp. “The Time Being” was written by Cicin-Sain and Richard Gladstein who also served as producer.

Daniel, portrayed by Wes Bentley as the film opens, is preparing for a gallery opening. He is a young artist who takes great pride in his creative process. The work it seems becomes about the process and Daniel is absorbed in it. He sits, studies the blank canvass, his trained eye envisioning the bare white becoming what is in his mind, as the seconds, minutes tick away, his life, his family are lost in the struggle, apparently dismissed, as his eye sees life on the canvass.

Set in northern and southern California, the family, a beautiful wife, Olivia played by Ahna O’Reilly, who believes in the talent of her husband and even without hearing and envisioning, she lives, daily, with the unspoken words of her mother admonishing her not to marry an artist. With the litany of reasons, the young idealistic, headstrong, Olivia, marries and the two clearly, in the beginning of the film, have a unique relationship and a handsome son, Marco, played by Aiden Lovekamp.

The gallery show doesn’t produce the needed results. Daniel a bit rude to his only interested buyer, walks away  from opening night concerned, with the name and number of a eccentric who has requested a private audience.

We meet Warner Dax, played by Frank Langella, sitting behind an enormous desk, in a sparsely furnished mansion as most of the furniture has been removed and thrown into a pile on the grounds. He lives alone with his housekeeper Anjelica, portrayed by Gina Gallego. At first glance Warner appears disheveled, disconnected, odd, and clearly reclusive.  Intimidating to the young artist sitting in front of him, he explains his particular reasons for requesting his presence and allowing him to enter his life.

Considering we live in the 21st century, Daniel’s hesitations are understandable. Although the requests are peculiar, it seems, photograph a sunrise, a sunset, a museum tour, they’re harmless and not unusual for an old man, who doesn’t want the world to see him.

The two become attached, not friends, joined through the need, the drive, to reproduce the life inside them through the expression on the canvass. They find themselves, through each other, a benefactor and mentor and a young idealist, torn between his driving needs for his artistic articulation, and his love for his family.

Their lives are about the work, always about the work, the canvass, the blank slate, the work, in the time being, before it takes off it consumes the thought, in the night, what drives the dreams into waking moments.

Moved by the images, I wondered if the subliminal text was truly the same word, selfish, that echo to many artists. To an outsider, the world is sure the artist believes the world revolves around them, that they expect a red carpet welcome when they visit family and friends. Everyone has heard the saying, “it’s all about me." I find the truth, is also unspoken, and very present. It is about the work, a birthing process that stifles, strangles and kills the soul unless expelled. And the artist life is not practical and “The Time Being” portrays it as such. The dullness of necessity verses the life of creation and finding the canvass that drives you.

The Time Being” reflects the artistic manifestation of the first time director as the cinematographer catches majestic the scenery and gradation of colors across a western sky. Beautiful mountains, flatlands with sunrises and sunsets as the backdrop drive deep thought and reflectioninto the soul.

Frank Langella and Wes Bentley deliver strong, notable, impressive performances. The entire cast exhibits a reserved intensity that is relatable and pulls the viewer into the uncommon circumstances.

The Time Being” is the directorial debut and a strong showing for Nenad Cicin-Sein. “The Time Being” premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews.

The Time Being” is well worth seeing in the midst of the summer box office headlines and opens in New York and Los Angeles July 26, 2013. Check your local listings.


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