'Masterpiece: The Child in Time'
(Benedict Cumberbatch, Kelly Macdonad, et al / DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)
Overview: Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly Macdonald, 'The Child in Time' is a lyrical and heart-breaking exploration of love, loss, and the power of things unseen, based on the award-winning novel by Ian McEwan and adapted by Stephen Butchard.
DVD Verdict: In truth, and as aforementioned, 'Masterpiece: The Child in Time' is based on a novel by Ian McEwan, which itself is not easy to distil. Benedict Cumberbatch plays writer Stephen who loses his 4 year old daughter in a supermarket and is haunted by this loss, as this mystical story flits backwards and forward in time.
The jumbled up narrative leaves you unimpressed and confused, but at least you are taken in by Stephen's will to survive. How he takes each day as it comes as, in his mind, his daughter is visible and there, but also lost.
In the meantime, his marriage has fallen apart with his wife Julie (Kelly Macdonald) who blames him for everything. Then a few years later, their relationship warms, [SPOILER ALERT] culminating in the unexpected birth of their son. For those not following along, with the movie or here, the conception obviously took place when they briefly reconciled.
The film also has a secondary story of Stephen's publisher and friend Charles Darke (Stephen Campbell Moore) having some kind of nervous breakdown and becoming increasingly child like. It not less a person than the British Prime Minister who tells Stephen to keep an eye on Charles. At first you might think this behaviour might be to something with Charles being involved in the abduction? It seems that is not the case.
Charles becomes a man mentally in a child like state, himself lost in time, whereas Stephen has lost his daughter physically. As the years go on it is Julie who tells him that one day it is likely the daughter will end up looking for them.
The book was written in 1987 and maybe the film would have been more successful if it too was set in the past. For example, nowadays supermarkets have CCTV everywhere and security guards on the door. You cannot just walk into a school or classroom like you did 30 years ago either. That all said, and as trippy as 'Masterpiece: The Child in Time,' stick with it for it will keep you watching throughout. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and has the Special Features of some Deleted Scenes.