When Time Got Louder is a brilliant, both heart-breaking and heart-warming, Canadian drama by award-winning director Connie Cocchia. She tells the story of a family dealing with the daily ups and downs of living with a neuro-diverse child. Mark (Lochlyn Munro) and Tish (Elizabeth Mitchell) have two grown-up children, nineteen-year-old Abbie (Willow Shields) and her seventeen-year-old brother Kayden (Jonathan Simao). Kayden has a severe form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is non-verbal. The battle-worn, financially-stretched family is close-knit and survives on a fairly even keel despite the challenges of Kayden’s condition. The relative calm is upended, however, when Abbie accepts a place at university to study animation, thousands of miles away in LA.
Abbie leaves home to start her new life and is soon settled in LA with her roommate Jen (Piper Curda). Jen introduces her to an exciting social scene. Abbie meets Karly (Ava Capri) at a party, and the two women begin a romantic relationship. Abbie is thriving in her new life, and busy, and sometimes forgets her daily FaceTime with Kayden. This really unsettles him. Abbie has never had a girlfriend before and isn’t out about her sexuality. Confident Karly, on the other hand, has been out since she was fourteen and can’t understand Abbie’s reticence in telling her parents about their relationship. Abbie feels her parents have enough to deal with and this causes conflict between the two young women. Meanwhile, back home Mark and Tish are struggling to cope with Kayden. This causes angst and guilt for Abbie. She returns home for the Christmas vacation to very chaotic scenes. How can she manage both her home life, her university life, and her new relationship?
This is a stand-out film with excellent performances by all the cast. Cocchia has drawn on her personal experiences of living with a non-verbal neuro-divergent sibling to create a powerful, tear-jerking (you’ll need tissues) portrayal of the profound challenges of living with a family member with severe ASD. Jonathan Simao deserves a special mention for his outstanding portrayal of Kayden. Simao himself is neuro-divergent and was able to draw on his own life experiences to shape the character of Kayden, which he does so brilliantly. Often brutal scenes are combined with moments of pure unadulterated love. Although the family is at times completely broken by the strain of dealing with Kayden’s condition, their strength and resilience shine through. A very poetic, realistic story, combined with beautiful, gentle cinematography. A must-see film.
When Time Got Louder DVD and Blu-ray release date is set for November 21, 2023 and available on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes on November 17, 2023.
Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah