Dec 12, 2018
Welcome back for our continued catchup of Netflix Originals this week, this time with a film coproduced by Mexico and the Netherlands. For a few other Netflix Originals from either country, check out “Sun Dogs” (Episode #107), “The 4th Company” (Episode #108), “The Motive” (Episode #234), and “The Resistance Banker” (Episode #258). And if you have any suggestions from either country, let me know at onemoviepunch.com or reach out over social media.
Today’s movie is “Time Share” (2018), the Netflix Original drama directed by Sebastián Hofmann and written for the screen in collaboration with Julio Chavezmontes. The film follows two family men, one a visitor with his family to a time share resort, the other a long-term employee for the same resort, who both become convinced the new owners are trying to take away their loved ones. Now, as the warnings signs grow, they join forces to prevent what may only be happening inside their minds.
I have only been to a handful of resorts in my life, generally as part of business trips as a consultant, and once as a ten-year wedding anniversary trip with my spouse. I know a great many people are in love with resorts, judging from the many people I know who have purchased time shares, and I can understand the appeal, even if I don’t share it. It’s nice to know there’s somewhere to go to get away from the daily grind, and for some folks, it’s wonderful to have all your needs fulfilled... as long as you can afford them. Two weeks where slaves can feel like masters, an ongoing corporate Saturnalia festival, except instead of the billionaires doing the work, they hire other, much lower paid people to fulfill those dreams. After all, the owners are living that life every day. Most of us can just buy a taste, which is where we enter the story for today’s movie.
We begin with a short prologue for one half of our duo, Andres (Miguel Rodarte), the resort worker, who five years ago suffers an anxiety attack working at the resort, and we come to learn, is prescribed a regimen of medicines and regular therapy to help deal with the consequences of that attack. And then we meet Pedro (Luis Gerardo Méndez), who has arrived at the time share with his son and his wife Eva (Cassandra Ciangherotti) to help his family reconnect. Of course, we also learn that the time share has been overbooked, and their family will have to share the villa with another family, who want to get a little too familiar. Andres acts as the inside perspective, and Pedro acts as the outside perspective, and we watch as their stories unfold during the resort ownership transition, being led by a corporate drone named Tom (RJ Mitte), who is selling both employees and customers a better future. It’s a wonderful setup for telling a human story and delivering a social critique of time shares in general.
Hofmann takes us all over the resort, among the time share owners, and behind the scenes in the industrial parts of the resort, showing up a very different story of resort life. Innocuous scenes are endowed with meaning by adding the right filters or accompanying score to help build tension. Hofmann and Chavezmontes also leverage the very real tactics used by time shares, including training their sales associates to lie to make the sale, and using dossiers with private information for each family to hit the right emotional triggers. Andres believes his wife Gloria (Montserrat Marañon) will leave him for a better future as a sales associate, which is a promise Tom has made her should she make the sale. Pedro believes the resort is trying to manipulate him, and quite frankly, he’s right, although not in the ways he believes. I felt paranoid and unsure the whole film, but also entranced, like a progressively stranger acid trip. It’s the same feeling I’ve felt at other resorts, and when that clicked, I realized just how much I enjoyed this film.
“Time Share” (2018) is a paranoid look into time share resorts, told through two different perspectives, and exploring the weird social ecosystem surrounding their properties. Hofmann and Chavezmontes craft a script which the cast carries to its intriguing and socially cathartic end. Fans of the surreal, looking for an interesting social critique, should definitely check out this film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
One Movie Punch: 8.6/10
“Time Share” (2018) is rated TV-MA and is currently streaming on Netflix.