I’ll admit that I often get lost with the physics of time travel in films, but thankfully for yours truly, writer/director Luke Higginson’s Canadian science-fiction comedy Relax, I’m from the Future (2023) eschews much of the quasi-scientific mumbo-jumbo in favor of a warm-hearted, whimsical tale with engaging characters. The technical specifics of how Casper (Rhys Darby) winds up in present-day Canada are far less important than the message of hope he brings — not to worry, everything will be alright — and the series of incidents that he accidentally sets into motion.
Along the way, Casper will have to try to avoid being vaporized by fellow future-dweller Doris (Janine Theriault) before she vaporizes him, while befriending Holly (Gabrielle Graham), with whom he forges a friendship as well as a partnership in winning lottery numbers and wagering on sports events to which he already knows the outcomes. He also knows that the gloomy restaurant employee Percy (Julian Richings) isn’t long for this world and that he will be discovered posthumously as a major art talent, and Casper is also up to something secretive on the rural property of Chuck (Zachary Bennett). But time travelers have a way of inadvertently screwing things up, and Casper is no exception to that rule.
There’s plenty going on in Relax, I’m from the Future, and Higginson juggles the proceedings well, but most importantly he wisely keeps the main focus on his quirky characters. There is plenty of science fiction to the story, but the scales tip more toward the comedic side of things. As always, humor mileage varies from viewer to viewer, but Higginson combines sarcasm and absurdity quite nicely, so there are plenty of chuckles and laughs to be had.
The question of how a person’s commitment to righting social wrongs — Holly’s character comes into play here — can change if told that the future works out just fine and if that person suddenly goes from making ends meet to rolling in money is examined, but things don’t get overly heavy or preachy. Relax, I’m from the Future boasts its share of tension and suspenseful predicaments for its characters, but ultimately it is a feelgood film that comes highly recommended.(3.5 / 5)
Relax, I’m from the Future screened as part of Calgary Underground Film Festival, which took place in Calgary, Canada from April 20–30.