Review of 'The Man from the Future'

Time-Traveling Escobar

This one's from Brazil, in Portuguese, from 2011, by way of Netflix in 2016, and I recently watched it as part of my time-travel movie and TV extravaganza. The Man from the Future - O Homem do Futuro in Portuguese - stars Wagner Moura as an accidental time-traveling scientist who finds himself some twenty years in his past — in 1991 — and in a position to change the course of his personal history, and get the girl (played by Alinne Moraes) he's loved all of these years, but lost for some reason at that crucial moment in 1991.

If Wagner Moura's name sounds familiar, it's because he played Pablo Escobar in Netflix's Narcos. (Alinne Moraes currently stars in Além do Tempo, a reincarnation TV series that I've yet to see, but will as soon as it's available here.) Moura is excellent in both Narcos and The Man from the Future, which is praise indeed, since the time-travel movie only has drugs as part of its comedy, which it mostly but not completely is. As a time-traveling romance, The Man from the Future also bears some kinship with Peggy Sue Got Married and even Back to the Future, though it's somehow a little bit more funny and serious than both of those classics.

Director Cláudio Torres has a good sense of what's needed in a time-travel story. A smart phone, which looks like a mobile phone to someone in 1991, but one that takes pictures and is also a little computer, is a good way to show someone in that past that you come from the future. It's of course, also easy to carry along with you in your trip through time.

The Man from the Future is also unafraid to have the same character at different times of his life, and from different alternate realities, in the same place at the same time, talking (and screaming) at one another. Other time-travel narratives, like 12 Monkeys the television series, look at those kinds of impossible meetings as literally destructive of reality, and thus paradoxes to be literally avoided like the plague. This might make for a strong plot mechanism, but it deprives the story of the fun of three versions of yourself yelling at yourself.

The 1991 music is also good, with R.E.M. and Radiohead in the background at appropriate times. It's always good to see a time-travel story in which the hero is looking to change his life rather than the world. The Man from the Future is recommended.

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Review of 'The Man from the Future'
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