In Garrett Bradley’s documentary Time, Sibil “Fox” Richardson is working to have her husband Robert released from prison. She believes his sentence—60 years for armed bank robbery—is oppressively and unjustly punitive.

Time’s title refers both to the sentence that Robert is serving and Fox’s parallel time served waiting for justice. Her work to battle the US judicial system and free her husband represents the reverse side of his incarceration. While Robert remains behind bars, Fox raises their six children and works tirelessly for her family. She is eternally patient while waiting for agonising lengths of time for information to come through—or not—about Robert’s case.

The film spans 20 years in the couple’s lives. Bradley beautifully negotiates this long timespan, mixing her own footage with clips from Fox’s home videos. She creates a melding of times and moods that flits between past and present. The black and white finish reflects the monotony of their waiting, the single-mindedness of Fox’s mission, and the integrity of her family’s love.

The film does not explain the specifics of how Fox intends to release Robert, but it does make clear the injustice of their situation. As a family member states, the length of Robert’s sentence is a modern version of “slavery times”, representative of a correctional system that incarcerates Black people unjustly and enforces draconian rules and inhuman treatment.

Bradley’s oblique camera angles and the beautifully arranged score conjure the feeling of Fox’s position rather than its political details. Time becomes a dance-like companion piece to Ava DuVernay’s 13th. Here, Fox and her tragic love story are given centre stage.

Time is an atmospheric and poetic feature that artfully conveys a family’s endless waiting and equally infinite determination in the face of political erasure and systemic racism.



CAST: Sybil “Fox” Richardson

DIRECTOR: Garrett Bradley

SYNOPSIS: This documentary follows a mother of six as she attempts to have her husband released from prison over two decades.