Tag Archives: Babak Tafti

Angst on a Shoestring

The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something has Passed

by Hope Madden

no one told you when to run

you missed the starting gun

Pink Floyd sang of a particular worrisome anxiety. Joanna Arnow perfectly articulates the emotion, or lack of, right from the title of her feature, The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something has Passed.

Arnow writes, directs and stars as Ann with unerringly deadpan delivery. Ann suffers from Millennial malaise. Her job evokes no passion. Her family is clingy and yet distant. Even her interest in BDSM, in Arnow’s hilariously banal depictions, is lifeless.

Growing listless with her longtime, much older “dominant,” Allen (Scott Cohen), Ann engages new partners, then moves to more traditional dating, finally developing a charming relationship with Chris (Babak Tafti, all warmth and tenderness).

At this point, Arnow’s detached irony threatens to make way for genuine human emotion. Chris and Ann’s awkwardness is sweet. You almost root for the film to be turning into a romcom. Arnow toys with that, as well as the coming-of-age arc, resisting cliché and doling out generational insights in hilarious monotone.

While there is something vaguely Lena Dunham about Arnow’s film, her voice is so utterly her own it’s tough to really compare The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something has Passed to anything else.

That voice echoes in the film’s visual aesthetic as well: everyone and everything at arm’s length, somehow simultaneously disengaged but compelling.

Not everything gels, and even the bulk of the film that works brilliantly will not work on everyone. Arnow’s film is an acquired taste— defiantly so. But like most good comedies, it’s saying something incredibly honest and more than a little bit sad.