CAPSULE: Yes, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Sex mixes with politics in this story of a former international banker on the run from the law who has a brief and educational encounter with a liberal and liberated Nicaraguan refugee. The politics is probably more entertaining than the sex and neither is particularly new and exciting. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 5/10.
As Angela (Charli Solaris) tells Bill (Keller Wortham), Americans live in the future. They live for the later, while she lives for the now. (I am not sure an environmentalist would agree that Americans are too concerned about the future.) Americans take their money that they do not spend and invest it so that later they can get a better car and a bigger house. And later they will have more to invest. Angela and Bill end up nicknaming each other Mr. Later and Ms. Now. The irony is that Bill is on the run from the law because he did not think enough about what his later might be. Bill was at one time an international banker. He was one of the self-proclaimed "Masters of the Universe". This particular Master of the Universe overreached himself a bit when he embezzled funds from his company. He got caught and was sentenced to eight years in jail. As the film opens Bill is on the run from the law after having jumped bail. His former driver Luis suggests he can hide in the Latino neighborhood and brings him to a restaurant where Nicaraguan Angela happily takes him in.
Angela is in the United States illegally, having fled from oppression in her home country. She is someone who cannot do too much for others. Her time is spent helping other Latinos. She also enjoys sex a great deal without any hang-ups. After a short interval of Bill's discomfort they share both sexual and verbal intercourse. The verbal presents her left wing worldview. Most of the points made are familiar. The CIA has backed dictators and undermined popular leaders. Bill listens astounded as if he was completely ignorant that this was going on and challenges none of what he is being told. Angela is amazed herself to find out the international bankers who engage in arbitrage call themselves Masters of the Universe. Neither seems very well informed and neither is more than a thinly characterized type, in spite of Diaz's claim that both characters were inspired by people he knew. The "live for the moment" message is a familiar one going back at least to ZORBA THE GREEK.
The film gives a somewhat idealized view of working-class Latinos. They look out for each other. When one is in trouble everyone comes to help. Their spokesperson Angela is radiant. She gives selflessly of herself whenever she can. She seems too good to be true. She has come from a place where deep injustices have been done to her family, and now she just wants to help others. Philippe Diaz who writes and directs this film is taking few chances that the viewer is not going to like her. Bill, who in the beginning represents the opposing point of view, begins stiff and uptight. He learns that Angela's uninhibited way and her politics are right. This is all just a bit unsubtle.
Diaz also wrote and directed the feature documentary THE END OF POVERTY? He is no Bernardo Bertolucci, but their interests and approaches are similar. Both recognize that an audience can be attracted with the soft-core sexual themes in a film and will stay around for the political payload. Without the sexual content the story of Bill and Angela would have been pat with a little message salted on. I rate NOW & LATER a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10.
[NOW & LATER was released on Blu-Ray on November 29, 2011.]
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0865560
What others are saying: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/now_and_later/
Mark R. Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2011 Mark R. Leeper