Love and Time Travel is an imperfect film, but an auspicious debut for New Zealand actor-writer-director Hayden J. Weal. Per its clumsy title (retitled in Australia from the more evocative/less communicative Chronesthesia), this is a story of romance and time travel. More the former than the latter; rather than trying to ape indie successes like Primer or Timecrimes, Weal offers a romantic dramedy with a time travel twist.
The story is intricately conceived but not entirely convincing. The rather ordinary life of Wellington barista Dan (played by Weal) is complicated by his unexplained ability to ‘think’ into the future, realised in hazy visions and messages scrawled in lipstick in his house. Those messages lead him into romance (with Michelle Ny’s Sophia) along with a mystery surrounding an old man he meets at the bus stop.
The characters are too reliant on their convoluted connections to really resonate, and Weal makes for an unconvincing leading man (even if he is intended to be “emotionally distant”), but Love and Time Travel is consistently engaging. As director, Weal maximises the material (and the presumably miniscule budget) with an impressive ability to manipulate and surprise his audience. Looking forward to whatever he does next.