The film is a portrait of modern labor that moves with the breathless tension of a Safdie brothers’ joint. But instead of gangsters and cocaine, it finds a flurried momentum in one ordinary woman’s everyday obligations.
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Calamy is utterly convincing, giving a performance that pulls us right into Julie’s inner world.
While Gravel’s film resonates with the larger themes of labor inequality, parenthood, job insecurity, and social unrest, Full Time never loses the focus of what it is, which is one of the best thrillers of the year.
Full Time works because of, not despite, its cutting thrills. The anxiety we feel as we watch is very much the point. Julie is living on the edge. The movie marvels at her ability to keep her balance. And it laments the fact that her survival should depend on it.
Full Time depicts the never-ending sprint that is Julie’s life as a struggling single mom, rendering this social-realist drama as a gritty, heart-pounding thriller, with breathless, naturalistic handheld cinematography by Victor Seguin and an adrenaline-pounding electronic score by Irène Drésel.
Without exaggerating any characteristic of suburban-mom life, steering clear of sentimentality or contrivance, Mr. Gravel succeeds breathtakingly in making us appreciate how much grit is contained in the Julies of the world.
Molehills to the rich feel like mountains to the working class, and Gravel finds the stylistic tools that can translate such scale into riveting cinema — and confer the kind of importance that the Julies all over the world deserve.
The film is a master class in reactivity, and Calamy manages it with perfect dramatic pitch.
From the opening credits to its last shot barely 90 minutes later, the film never eases up on its intensity. Fans of relentless rollercoaster rides like 2019′s “Uncut Gems” and 1998′s “Run Lola Run” will find much to enjoy here.
Full Time looks and sounds like a nail-biting thriller and tells a story that many viewers will be able to relate to on an intensely personal level.
As the title promises, Full Time is centered on work. It’s one of the best recent movies about work, and it approaches the subject with sharply analytical specificity.
Gravel, in the heart-stopping vein of Belgium’s social-realism-minded Dardennes brothers, invests his protagonist’s one-challenge-at-a-time needs with the kind of visual intimacy and racing rhythm that makes us feel intensely close to Julie, from first sprint in her dehumanizing day to the exhaling bathtub soak she takes each night.
It’s a propulsively intense piece of filmmaking – at times a bit like watching a highwire chainsaw juggling act about to go horribly and catastrophically wrong.
Full Time doesn’t have much to say about organized labor, or labor in general, other than that work can be really stressful.