In the new film Time Out of Mind, Richard Gere portrays a homeless man in New York City struggling with life on the street and attempting to rekindle his relationship with his estranged daughter, portrayed by Jena Malone. The movie deals with a subject not often broached in Hollywood, poverty in America, and more specifically, what it's really like to be homeless. Gere was so committed to experiencing life as a homeless person that he went incognito as one in New York City while being secretly filmed for the movie, and almost no one paid any attention to him. The performance has paid off, and Gere is getting some of the best reviews of his career for his work in Time Out of Mind. But you can't tell much about the film from its title, which is a somewhat familiar turn of phrase, albeit a rather cryptic one. So, what does the Time Out of Mind title mean?
According to Variety, Time Out of Mind derives its name from the Bob Dylan album of the same name. The phrase itself means a time before memory or recorded history, and makes sense in the film as Gere's character is trying to get back to the place he was before he became homeless. It also is put to use in Dylan's 1997 album, his 41st, as he reflects on his younger days and fading relevance as he enters old age.
While the film and album seem to match up nicely, their connections actually run deeper than that since Bob Dylan, Richard Gere, and the film's screenwriter and director, Oren Moverman, share a convoluted backstory that leads to Time Out of Mind.
The story begins in 1973, during production on the film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. The movie was the first ever Hollywood production to be scored by Dylan, which earned him a Grammy nomination as a composer. He also made his film acting debut in the movie, and recorded his first ever soundtrack album for the film, which included one of his most enduring hits, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Dylan was already a rock star, but he was beginning to form a film career, too.
Fast forward 30-plus years to 2007. That's when the film I'm Not There was released. The movie tells the story of Bob Dylan by using several different actors to portray the singer at different stages in his life (Cate Blanchett earned an Oscar nomination for her take on him). The film was penned by Moverman, and features Gere as one of the Dylans. Which Dylan? The one called Billy the Kid.
Now, years later, Moverman and Gere have reunited for Time Out of Mind. Since the two men met while working together on I'm Not There, it only made sense that their new project should once again draw inspiration from Bob Dylan. One look at some of the song titles and it's not hard to see why: "Dirt Road Blues," "Trying To Get To Heaven," "Not Dark Yet"... the album's themes of despair line up perfectly with the movie. I'm sure that wasn't lost on Moverman when he chose its name, and Dylan fans should appreciate the new movie's nod to the beloved artist.
Images: IFC Films; Giphy (3)