Today’s workers in all sectors of the economy are increasingly working under time pressures as they try to meet appointments and deadlines. We speak of “having” and “saving” and “wasting” time but we never quite succeed in conquering it. We claim to want more time for things that matter outside of our work but to make room for them we have to rush through eating, recreation, and pleasure. In the end, we feel exhausted and diminished.

“Time is deeper and stranger than anything else in our lives. It takes everything with it, nothing is bigger than time, nothing survives its power.”
— Jacob Needleman in Time and the Soul

Julie (Laure Calamy) is a single mother of two young children. Every work day, she drops them with a nanny and joins other working-class folk on the crowded trains and buses from her country home into the city. She works at a fancy Parisian hotel as the head chambermaid.

Laure Calamy as Julie

Julie’s routine is thrown off balance when public transportation workers go on strike. Getting to and from work becomes a major challenge. Here is a portrait of how labor disputes can upend life for so many people. Everything seems to be crashing in on Julie during a week out of hell.

“Our uneasiness and our frantic scrambling are caused by our distorted sense of time, which seems to be continuously running out. Western culture reinforces this conception of time as a limited commodity. We are always short of time, we are always running out of time.”
— Brother David Steindl-Rast in Music of Silence

The strike gets worse, and Julie is forced take cabs to work, rent a car, and even hitchhike. Her alimony-owing ex is out of the country and promises to send her money. More pressure piles on Julie’s shoulder’s with her son’s birthday, her boss’s (Anne Suarez) criticism of a decline in her work habits, and her nanny’s (Genevieve Mnich) refusal to work extra hours. To complicate things more, she has a chance to get a better job, one that uses more of her skills, but she has to get to the interviews.

“We cannot summon the future, we cannot remake the past. The present moment is the unfinished house in which we dwell.”
— Philip Simmons in Learning to Fall

Full Time is a soulful French film written and directed by Eric Gravel. Laure Calamy gives an emotionally stirring performance of a single mother trying to forge a new future for herself. This realistic drama captures and conveys the struggles she undergoes and the courage she needs in her experience of time.