Having read the novel, I wasn’t sure how the film was going to handle six similarly themed chronologies. At nearly three hours the film certainly tries to give each sufficient air time. Already knowing where the plot was going - as well as having read more in-depth evaluations of the book - I didn’t feel lost. Despite my previous knowledge of the story though the swapping between plots still felt dizzying.
To the film’s credit the cinematography, sets, effects, and costume for each story were great. Furthermore, each scene was interesting while it was going on. They didn’t cheat any of the story lines. I’m just not sure if the way the stories were stitched together made the film as a whole good.
Ultimately what did in the film for me was that I already knew the film’s deeper meaning and therefore trying to link up the different plots wasn’t challenging. Add to that that I watched it in parts over the course of the week, usually late at night, and I don’t think I gave it a fair chance.
I probably liked the 1973 San Francisco story the best, with Halle Barry as Luisa Rey. Tom Hanks felt wrong in every one of his roles. I think he's at the point where the audience can't divorce Tom Hanks from the character he's playing. Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, and Keith David also make appearances.