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Review of 'I Thought You Would Last Forever'

Time Travel, Russian Style

I Thought You Would Last Forever - the English title of Ya dumal, ty budesh vsegda, a 2013 Russian feature-length time-travel romance, now streaming free with English subtitles on Amazon Prime -- is no Anna Karenina. But it tells a pretty good time travel story of broken hearts and quietly heroic attempts to repair them, and is imbued with the fatalistic but deeply human Russian spirit.

The basic story is:  a middle-aged man Evgeniy in 2012, distraught after his wife Mila dies, gets a chance to go back in time to the 1980s, and change some crucial things in their relationship. He feels guilty because he's been unfaithful to her, and suspects that she had been the same to him. There's no scientific explanation whatsoever given for the time travel, indeed no magical or mystical explanation either, which makes this movie even less connected to reality than, say, Outlander. But it still works on its own terms.

There are lots of inside Russia jokes related to the time travel, but they're easy enough for an American or anyone to get. Evgeniy trips up in the 1980s when he tells Mila and her neighbors about someone in St. Petersburg, which in the Soviet 1980s was still Leningrad. He tells a young man that he has a bright future ahead when he demonstrates a talent for making money. There's a statue of Lenin which looks like a bunch of birds went to town on it.

The acting, carried by Konstantin Milovanov as Evgeniy and Irina Tarannik as Mila, is quite good. The language and general ambience got me in the mood for The Americans, the sixth and final season of which will air some time in 2018, with any luck this Spring. But most important for a time-travel story, the connections through time -- aka loops -- worked well and all came to make sense in the end. If you're a fan of the genre, I'd definitely recommend.

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Review of 'I Thought You Would Last Forever'
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