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The Color of Time (II) (2012)

5.1
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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 492 users   Metascore: 34/100
Reviews: 8 user | 10 critic | 12 from Metacritic.com

A poetic road trip through Pulitzer prize-winning CK Williams' life.

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Storyline

The Color of Time is based on Pulitzer prize-winning poet CK Williams' collection of the same name. The film blends together adaptations of 11 of the poems to create a poetic road trip through CK William's life. The film takes us on a journey through several decades of American life from CK's childhood and adolescence in Detroit in the 1940s and 50s to the early 1980s: CK and his wife Catherine are married with their son Jed. CK prepares for a reading of 'Tar' in New York City, and spends his nights struggling to write new poems, haunted by memories of his past. As CK drives to his reading in New York City, he remembers central moments of his life: we come to experience and understand both his relationship to love and loss, and how he found his calling as a poet through the women in his life. The film takes us back and forth between past and present, punctuated by voice-over from CK Williams' poems, recreating the experience of memory and exploring how the fragments of one's man life ... Written by Anonymous

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A poetic look at author C.K. Williams' life over the course of 40 years.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality, nudity, language and drug use | See all certifications »
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9 December 2014 (USA)  »

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Tar  »

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It's the second time James Franco, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, Bruce Campbell and Mia Serafino play together in a movie. See more »

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Film by Committee
11 December 2014 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. It's either a most unusual biopic on Pulitzer Prize winning poet CK Williams, an example of how director Terrence Malick has influenced the next wave of filmmakers, or a self-congratulatory exercise disguised as a class project. Regardless of your final take, most cinephiles will muster at least a modicum of interest in a film with 11 directors and 12 writers … each NYU film students during James Franco's time on campus as an adjunct professor.

We see the life of CK Williams through the flashbacks and memories of James Franco (as an adult Williams prepping for a reading of "Tar"). Williams as a child, as an adolescent, and as a college student (played by Henry Hopper, son of Dennis) offer a glimpse into the girls and events that helped shape his poetry. The sequence of Williams as a child is so similar to Malick's Tree of Life, that we viewers experience our own flashbacks … right down to Jessica Chastain recreating her scenes from that movie (this time as Williams' mother).

Mila Kunis plays Catherine, Williams' second and current wife, and it's clear – in a modern expressionist kind of way – that they are very happy together. There are a couple of disjointed sequences that come across as created simply to provide an outlet for Zach Braff and Bruce Campbell. However, when dealing with poetry, rules don't apply … at least that seems to be what this group of young filmmakers would have us believe. The washed out colors, fuzzy focus, shots of nature, and muted emotions dotted with monotone dialogue are all elements of artsy films. Whether these are the foundations of artsy films is a separate topic. Interspersed throughout are a couple of clips of CK Williams with his own readings.

Experimental filmmaking is always a risk and should not be discouraged. It's given us every advance in the medium for a century. It is a bit worrisome, however, when experimental film appears so similar to the work of a current master. Let's hope that's just the first step in the process of developing filmmakers. This one also acts as a reminder that turning poetry into actual images often defeats the purpose of the written words.


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