Plea for Prison Reform
Garrett Bradley is the first African-American woman to win the Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival Documentary Competition. Bradley took her cameras and shot new scenes, but she wisely interspersed personal video that the main character had shot over the years. This gives Time a more intimate feeling to it rather than being merely a glossy documentary. We see archival footage as well as up to the minute scenes from recent years in the lives of Sybil “Fox” Rich and her family.
And who is Fox Rich? She’s the wife of prisoner Rob G. Rich. He wassentenced to 60 years in prison for a bank robbery that both he and his wife committed during their desperate days. She took a plea bargain and got only 12 years, but he did not take the plea bargain and got an unusually harsh sentence. When they were young, they began their own business by opening a store. The economy got bad, and they were about to lose everything. Not using good judgement, they robbed a bank to get some money. Bad decision.
Fox Rich had the job of raising their six boys on her own after being released from prison. Her mother raised them while Fox was incarcerated. Fox became an activist and campaigned for 20 years to get her husband released. She was trying to get prison reform and have draconian rules changed to humanize treatment and get more reasonable sentencing laws.
In a way, scenes of her fighting to raise her six handsome sons, maintain a family unit, getting her boys to remember their father, and to make a living are heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. Fox Rich never gave up, she fought to get Rob’s release as she watched her boys grow into men. They were always a strong family unit. Tears are brought to the audience’s eyes when the boys’ loyalty to their father is shown as a strong bond between them even though they have been separated.
Mom and dad went wrong for a moment in their lives trying to save their family business and to make a good life for their children. It’s an extraordinary story.
(Released by Amazon Studios and streaming on Amazon. Rated “PG-13” by MPAA.)