Movie Review: TiMER

Image courtesy of

What if you could have scientific proof about finding your soul mate? That’s the premise of TiMER, a subtle little movie that blends romantic comedy with science fiction.

Here’s the concept: In the five-minutes-from-now future, a hip technology company has invented a device called the TiMER that signals you when you’ve found the love of your life. People get it implanted in their wrist (about as painful as getting your ears pierced).

Once implanted, the TiMER is blank–until, somewhere out there, your soul mate gets theirs too. Then your TiMER begins a countdown, showing the number of hours until you meet your other half. When it goes off–days, weeks, or years later–you lock eyes with someone, their timer goes off too, and you know your search is over.

(The movie is from 2009–if it were made today, the TiMER would probably be an app!)

The protagonist, Oona (Emma Caulfield, from Buffy), is right around 30, and has a TiMER that’s still blank. She’s feeling adrift. Her sister Steph (Michelle Borth) has a TiMER that says she has years to go before she finds her “One.” She dulls her bitterness about this by having commitment-free sex with as many guys as possible. But only guys with TiMERs: as Steph puts it, “TiMER-less guys are so angsty and conflicted.”

TiMER abounds with clever dialogue and rude humor, but it’s not for a moment cynical. The screenplay (by director Jac Schaeffer) is compassionate toward its characters, all of whom are blundering their way to love…or, to a match made through total surrender to technology.

This movie (streamable on Netflix!) got me thinking about the whole concept of “the One.” I don’t think humans have only one soul mate. We’re wired to respond to each other for various reasons, and even the most selective of us (like moi) will probably get to know a dozen or so people we could happily spend our lives with.

So how do you know when you’re ready to be done with the search, and settle with your mate? That I don’t know first-hand–my TiMER hasn’t gone off yet! Those of you with partners, what do you think?