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Time Out of Mind


‘…uses Gere’s considerable star power to shine a light on a regrettable part of everyday life that many of us choose to ignore…’

There’s a number of ideas, stars and creative forces which seem to recur over and over again on this blog; one of them is Richard Gere. Some of his key films like American Gigolo, An Officer and a Gentleman and Pretty Woman are amongst the most popular reviews I’ve published here. Gere  made the transition from heart-throb status to elder statesman over some decades of big-screen success, and has developed some kind of social conscience, and Time Out of Mind was clearly a passion project for him.

Heartfelt dramas in which well-heeled movie stars attempt to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless are usually a hard sell, and deservedly so; they often feel like a shared guilt trip for film-makers and audiences alike. Time Out Of Mind sees Richard Gere as George, a homeless man on the streets on NYC, and follows his everyday, repetitive struggles just to get a safe bed for the night. On paper, that’s a hard line to swallow, given Gere’s movie star looks, regularly seen to good effect elsewhere, but breaking stigma about the homeless is part of what Time Out of Mind addresses.

It’s to Gere’s credit that Time Out Of Mind manages to pull off that conceit and turn it into a strength; a monologue about how a once-gorgeous George initially moved from bed to bed, then couch to couch, illustrates how his good looks only brought him so far in life before he was stranded and abandoned by those who once sought his company. The lazy thinking behind those who feel that the homeless somehow deserve their plight is turned upside down here since we sense that George could be more than he is, but societal attitudes to mental health and homelessless have been slow to catch up with his  reality. Filming on the streets on New York, and also inside Bellevue Hospital, adds authenticity to Oren Moverman’s film, and roles from other MVP’s like Kyra Sedgwick and Steve Buscemi don’t do anything to jar the thoughtful tone.

I went along to see a public screening to see Gere eloquently discuss the film on its release at an event organised by the Big Issue magazine in Glasgow, and he was predictably rushed by fans eager to hear stories that recapture the old days, something he was politely resistant to. Age should mature us all, and while it would be easy to dismiss a worthy film like this, Time Out of Mind uses Gere’s considerable star power to shine a light on a regrettable part of everyday life that many of us choose to ignore; that our widescreen comfort at home is balanced by the ongoing predicament of the homeless outside. For those with a willingness to look at the tougher side of life outside our front doors, Time Out Of Mind is well worth the effort to understand.


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  1. This is all good but when are you going to review a movie that addresses real social problems, like Meg 2: The Trench? Giant prehistoric sharks on the loose don’t get as much play from the msm as the homeless.

  2. Sounds worthy, will it make any difference though? But good for Dicky, I have a soft spot for him in his Pretty Woman days.

  3. Vaguely remember when this one came out but I never saw it.

    Sounds like an admirable effort to tell a story without exploiting it.

    I do love a handsome Richard Gere. Sorry, not the point here.

    • So called poverty chic and virtue signaling do not appeal to me. But I do admire stars who use their clout to do or say something useful, and if the film is well crafted, it works for me. In a way, he was typecast as a handsome Richard Gere, so it’s nice to see him stretch his acting range with a more downbeat role.

  4. That was quite ambitious of him.
    One of the lead elders at our church runs a homeless shelter and so I’ve learned more about the issue in the last couple of years than I ever knew before. Very eye opening to see the reality of homelessness and what’s behind most of it instead of what you see in the news. is the website for the shelters he administers.

  5. I only sort of remember hearing about this at the time. Sounds like a worthy subject to take on, but is it a good movie?

    turn it into as a strength

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