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Time travel and multiverse stories... what are they REALLY about? The upcoming horror film She Loved Blossoms More tells us

Tribeca's new horror film She Loved Blossoms More uncovers the grief at the heart of so many great sci-fi stories

She Loved Blossoms More
Image credit: She Loved Blossoms More

She Loved Blossoms More begins with a wild sci-fi premise: Three sons who have lost their mother in a car accident work to complete a time (or maybe interdimensional) travel device so that they can bring their mother home. Over the course of the film, we watch the three sons do a number of experiments, and a whole lot of drugs, on the path toward discovering how to create that pathway.

Spoilers ahead for She Loved Blossoms More and All of Us Strangers.

Like most multiverse and time travel stories, Blossoms involves some wild complications. A chicken they put halfway into their portal comes back alive but headless with a tiny flat screen in its neck. It creeps around the house as though spying on the boys. Another experiment sees their drug dealer Samantha beheaded, her still-living head split into three parts, each with its own eye.

But the longer the film goes on, the more the plot here collapses into a drug-fueled haze, so much so it becomes hard to say what is even real, from the existence of Samantha to the status of their father as living or dead. When two of the brothers actually do travel to another dimension, they do so without the equipment actually working.

Meanwhile, the meanings behind certain unusual choices are revealed: The burnt-out car in which one of the sons sleeps at night—his hands tied to it—is actually the wreckage of the vehicle in which their mother died. The wardrobe in which we find the main character at the beginning of the film, which is also the portal through which they hope to travel to rescue their mother, was actually her wardrobe. He sleeps there because it retains the smell of her perfume. On an emotional level it is indeed a capsule that transports her to him.

These details underline the fact that this isn’t really a film about a time-and-space rescue. It’s the story of three boys trying to beat back the profound grief they feel at losing their mother (and probably also their father).

And really, aren’t so many time travel/multiverse stories wish fulfillment fantasies like this? The recent All of Us Strangers is a case in point. Andrew Scott plays Adam, who having lost his parents as a child finds a way to go back in time to visit them. Meanwhile his lover Harry (Paul Mescal) in fact overdosed at the beginning of the film. Adam’s entire relationship with him turns out to be an attempt to overcome what happened.

While occasionally, as in fellow Tribeca film Don’t Ever Let Me Go, these kinds of stories have a fairy tale ending, calamity surprisingly averted, often the real reward of the time travel/multiverse film is the main character finally facing their loss. In its own eerie, unexpected way She Loved Blossoms More brings the three boys to that same moment: Having traveled to another world, the hero faces the fact that neither his mother nor his father were the people he and his brothers needed. Real happiness is only possible for them if they stop chasing the affection they were never given.

At the end he telephones himself from the alternate dimension in which his mother exists, far less mother than monster, and tells his real-world self “The experiment is over.”

What happens now, his brothers wonder. “Now,” he says, “we have all the time in the world.”

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Jim McDermott

Jim McDermott: Jim is a magazine and screenwriter based in New York. He loves the work of Stephen Sondheim and cannot take a decent selfie.


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