most shocking scene of time out of mind occurs when Richard Gere’s character, George Hammond, confronts his position in society. He angrily asks his troubled bunkmate, “Am I homeless?” Yes, he is homeless, but it takes him a long time to accept or even speak the word. As his carefree friend explains, “You don’t exist.”
The scenes at the homeless shelter are painfully realistic. While a terrace, bed, and some square food are something to be thankful for, the dehumanization of the occupants is often a very high price to pay. Many people choose freedom at the cost of their health and even their lives. They would rather be free to live in regimented, potentially dangerous shelters.
To give up freedom is a terrible thing. Look at the bottle in Gere’s brown bag and try to remember the person his character might have once been. He’s probably just someone like you.
Hammond is a sympathetic character, even when hints of his past suggest many wasted opportunities. His bartender daughter is not too pleased to see him when he points to a handout at his place of work. She angrily shows him the door, yet is clearly torn by his visit. After all, he is her father. Even their leftover expensive clothes indicate happy times.
Gere spent several days on the streets preparing for the role of George Hammond, only to be recognized twice. This comes as a surprise to a man of his stature in Hollywood, whose good looks he maintains as he ages handsomely. To think of the lesser-known individuals we pass or step on the streets every day as we think of the normal lives most homeless once lived by themselves.
A young woman surprises herself by giving Gere her pizza while she eats leftover food from a garbage can. He appeared genuinely amazed by her kindness and generosity. He did not reveal his identity, and the woman never recognized him. Hopefully, she’ll see herself in the widely circulated YouTube video, which has now gone viral, and will be encouraged to do acts of kindness again.
This film is not easy to watch and it did not make much headway at the box office. It was well received by critics, while Netflix viewers give it a star. It deserves and needs to be seen. Inconvenient themes aren’t that popular between Games and Thrones and not-so-happily to watch. Perhaps, therein lies the problem.