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The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed Review

The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed Review

There is a scene in The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed when our protagonist, Ann, is kneeling on the floor naked, gagged, and thoroughly happy to be humiliated by her longtime lover. It’s just one aspect of Ann’s life that finds her bowing to life’s many subjugations—organic or intentional. She’s grown used to the slow ebb and flow of the life she created for herself. Or, perhaps, the one created for her. Either way, Ann doesn’t really resist her fate. In fact, at times, she seems to relish the absurdities of it all.

This is part of the brilliance of Joanna Arnow, who writes, directs, and stars in this offbeat yet thoroughly fascinating mosaic-style comedy that explores the underbelly of relationships of all kinds, the choices we make, and why. Executive produced by Sean Baker (Red Rocket), the film premiered at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight. Between its sharp editing and quick vignette-style storytelling, we move through time with Ann, her long-term casual BDSM relationship, lowly corporate job, and quarrelsome Jewish family. The film should appeal to anybody who appreciates quirky comedies that forego linear storytelling to evoke a certain mood. And the one Arnow serves up here is unique.

Unpacking an Offbeat Story in The Feeling

The Feeling That The Time For Doing Something Has Passed

The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed


Joanna Arnow

Joanna Arnow , Scott Cohen , Babak Tafti

87 Minutes

Joanna Arnow


  • The film will appeal to audiences who enjoy quirky comedies.
  • Ann is a very complex and intriguing character to follow.
  • Joanna Arnow proves to be a compelling up-and-coming filmmaker.

  • Viewers expecting a slew of laugh-out-loud moments will be disappointed.

The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed has been called a “sadomasochistic sex comedy,” but the humor isn’t laugh-out-loud funny. Ann is mostly downtrodden throughout this endeavor, which also stars Scott Cohen (East New York), Babak Tafti (Billions), and David Arnow. At one point, during a sex session with Allen (Cohen), her casual BDSM go-to, she tells him it’s as if she doesn’t exist. She’s okay with it. She gets off on it, in fact.

We’re led to believe that this is the only way Ann can feel something deeply, yet she’s remarkably detached across the board. The film recalls Lena Dunham’s work on Girls. Arnow is seen naked numerous times throughout the outing, which may be jarring for some, liberating and welcome for others. But Ann is naked with her clothes on, too. You wouldn’t necessarily say she bares all, per se, emotionally, but she’s not one to keep her emotions bottled up, either. It’s mesmerizing to watch at times and maddening and cumbersome elsewhere.


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From the onset, scenes come and go breezily. Arnow doesn’t stay in one setting or experience that long. Like Ann, we move, sometimes meander here and there with her. Scott Cohen is an effective scene partner of the actress, too. Allen, who’s divorced and has been hooking up with Ann since she was 24, is stoic, reserved, and often callous. That demeanor might be off-putting to some, but Ann enjoys the unavailability of it all.

Elsewhere, various relationships pop in, and we get to experience how Ann operates with them as well. A sudden change in her job title at work further pushes the notion that nobody really cares about Ann. That’s true to some extent, and several of these nicely spliced-together scenes create a kind of strange flipbook in the life of a resigned millennial.

There wouldn’t be humor without family. Ann’s Jewish family talk over each other, quarrel, and shoot each other curious looks, fitting the bill nicely. It also gives us a glimpse as to where some of Ann’s patterning may have formed, eventually leading her to Allen and ultimately finding her stagnant in a life where the only way to feel anything “real” is to poke and stab at it to see if, in fact, there’s a life there worth living. That’s an interesting take, though. Ann isn’t one to Deepak or Oprah her way toward empowerment or a kind of salvation. It’s too much work. (Hauntingly, the filmmaker knows that it’s a lot of work for most people, too.)


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A glimmer of hope arrives in the form of Chris (Babak Tafti), who is drawn to Ann. The duo pairs up, but this kind fellow doesn’t know what he’s up against. Chris’s kindness is unsettling to Ann. It disrupts her standard routine. She’s grown used to less. What happens when there’s more?

On that note… as a writer and filmmaker, Joanna Arnow knows that anything “messy” is interesting. Ann is complex. Her inner world is loaded with unsolved perplexities. The filmmaker’s creative techniques often serve as a metaphor to Ann’s existence. You’ll often hear a lively world operating around Ann—off in the distance, through the walls—but none of it is really within her reach.

Scenes never linger around. There’s no time for them to breathe because Ann zips in and out of situations. She’s self-involved, somehow fully formed into not being fully formed. It’s a trip to watch at times. But not for everybody. A monotony forms, yet it’s all related to who Ann is herself. That said, it is best to understand that we’re the constant observers here. Still, Joanna Arnow proves herself to be a sharp storyteller, and The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed is smart, absurdly funny, and effective. Let’s keep our eyes on this exceptional storyteller. The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed opens on April 25 in theaters. Watch the trailer below.

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