There is something about a tightly wound clock of a movie that when you let it go it just churns its way through the gears and magic happens. Movies like Primer, The Invitation, ARQ, Time Lapse, etc. Now, this isn’t one of those sort of upper echelon movies, but it does have a pretty good internal logic that drives this thing forward. There are a few confusing bits, that we’ll have to unpack and discuss. But, to be 100% honest with you, this movie isn’t actually a looping movie like those I lifted above. It’s actually something completely different. And that will only become readily apparent if we look at it very closely. But this is a fun little movie that is worth a watch if you get a chance.
Alright, with that, let’s dive into spoiler land. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you need to head off over to Netflix to watch this film, before you go any further on this page. This film has a lot to be spoiled, and you’ll definitely have an existential crisis…a rending of the mind, (bit much?) if you read without having seen it first. So shew shew… go.
Seven in Heaven Movie Walkthrough
I just reviewed a little Indie film called 41 that had a similar premise and mechanic to Seven in Heaven. If you don’t mind low rent time travel movies, maybe it’ll be your dish? I enjoyed it. But the biggest similarity is that the miracle portal of 41 was a hole in the bathroom floor. And here, it’s a closeted closet. But the bottom line for this movie is that the mechanic drives a jump that we’ll have to look at closely to figure it out.
The movie starts with Jude (played by Travis Tope) and a party. The interrelationships among a few of the party goers are kind of important. So Jude is dating Nell (played by Clark Backo, is in the second season of Handmaid’s Tale I do believe), but she hasn’t been able to get away from home to come to the party yet. June (played by Haley Ramm) is sort of dating Derrick (played by Jake Manley), but their relationship is complicated. And then, to round out the character play list there is Jude’s good friend Kent (played by Dylan Everett). And things kick off in earnest as Kent, Jude, Derrick, and June play a game called Seven Minutes in Heaven. Cards are dealt out, and the first two people to get the same number have to kiss, or spend seven minutes in the closet. Well, the first pair selected are Jude and June. And Jude is dating Nell, so making out with June isn’t going to happen. So they go into the closet.
But when the pair come out – everything is very different. I’m going to call this World1, and the previous world, World0. And here in World1, the first enormous detail we learn is that Jude’s father happens to be here…after having died in a car accident. But everything isn’t fantastic in World1 because Jude’s father is an evil human being, and everyone they encounter is angry and hostile to Jude specifically, and also June. They even begin beating the two and that causes them to separate. But the enormous detail that comes is that Jude has been accused of killing Derek in World1. And Jude1 is a very different individual in Jude0. His bedroom is filled with metal bands, and it’s a room he doesn’t recognize. So maybe Jude1 did kill Derek1. But one thing Jude0 knows, is that he didn’t kill anyone.
After running from the police, Mr. Wallace – Derek0’s guidance counselor (I literally am unclear what he is in World1, but we can assume he’s also the guidance counselor. But Wallace has some sort of knowledge about what is going on that no one else has. He knows that Jude0 and June0 should not be in World1. Why? No idea.) – drops Jude off at David’s house where the party was happening. And Wallace tells Jude to get out of World1. Jude goes into the closet, but nothing happens. But in his pocket, is a pencil…that he uses to write the message “Get Me Home” above the mantel of the door. He begins to wonder if maybe he needed June to be able to get back. So Jude heads to June’s house, and finds her in a tree. They go inside, and June0’s sister, Molly1 begins suffocating her. Jude saves June from her alternate sister, and they run. Soon though they are captured by Mr. Wallace, and are forced to go back into the house again.
And this is where things begin to get a little wonky in World1. Wallace goes to the police, and tells them something, and the police, and David’s parents, to allow Jude0 and June0 to walk back into the house. They go back into the closet for 7 minutes – and they have sex. There is a long discussion about how Jude performed. But yeah.
Now, back in World0, Kent, Derek, David, and Nell begin looking for Jude and June throughout the house. Their cell numbers fail. And they don’t make any progress. Simultaneously. The police arrive, and the kids don’t open the door, knowing that the cops can’t come in if they don’t have a warrant. Kent heads into the closet for seven minutes, and what happens while he is in there can be interpreted several different ways. I personally believe that Kent does not travel to World1, but while in the closet he sees some visions of what was happening to Jude and June. And as a result, Kent tells his friends that Jude/June are now missing. Nell then sits in the closet but doesn’t see much, and doesn’t believe they are missing. The police eventually begin calling parents, and when the parents arrive, they begin threatening their children, but no one comes out of the house.
Jumping back to the closet, and World1, the seven minutes completes for Jude and June. When they walk out, it looks as though Jude/June are in World1 still maybe? But they really aren’t certain. (To spoil the spoiler, I believe them to be in World2). So they walk out onto the road, and are chased by Mr.Wallace2. The two run, and are eventually called by Nell, who tells them to join them at Kent’s house. They do, and everyone is there – and they are told they are going to be playing a game of Lie or Die. In the midst of the game, June lies that Jude and she did anything in the closet and her sister (Molly2?) dies via smothering. After Jude tells the truth about how his father died (by hitting a deer), he turns the game on its head and begins asking the crowd questions that imperil loved ones. But doesn’t ask the follow up question that would kill them. After this, the crowd rushes them, and June and Jude run for it. Eventually Mr. Wallace2 takes them to the house, and he lights it on fire as they go into the closet together one last time in order to “reset” the game. When they come out, police have started releasing kids to their parents after David’s grandmother has unlocked the front door and let the police in. When Jude and June are reunited with Kent, Nell, and David, Jude asks Kent if they are friends. This is used as sort of a password for Jude, and the answer that they are indicates that Jude has made it back to World0 again finally.
Simultaneously, Derek has gone back into the closet. A policeman followed him up, but when he opens the closet door, the light pops, and he finds a bloody pencil on the floor.
Seven in Heaven – What Did I Just Watch?
Hey, I have an idea – why don’t I create this ‘lil infographic walkthrough of the timelines throughout the movie Seven in Heaven? Great idea!
We literally could talk about the number of worlds and the number of shards created in this movie til the cows come home and still not really know anything definitively. Because, like Coherence, what if, every single time someone went into the closet, they jumped? We assume that they don’t. But what if they did? It could get really complicated really fast. But, I have drawn jump lines for every closet entry I think we can all agree on where the jump succeeded. Which, apparently the writer and director agreed with, when I chatted with him about it.
So ultimately, the initial Jude and June jump worked and it sent them to World1 like I mentioned in the walkthrough. Then Jude and June get back in together, and they jump to World2 – and this is the world where Mr. Wallace explained that everyone’s worst thoughts take over. This world is a Black Mirror episode through and through. It’s a weaponization of your fears. Which, means that I am super glad that I haven’t had chance to visit World2. It would have been a bad experience!
So Many Seven in Heaven Questions!
OK, this one has really got me confused. But I am going to speak with authority regardless. Because facts are defined by the conviction with which they are told to you. Oh, no Fred, NASA never went to the moon. Why would you believe that lie? Didn’t you watch Operation Avalanche?
Question #1: Explain the various Talismans please.
So, I think what is happening is best explained by Jude’s mother. The talisman that took Jude into World1 was his mother’s playing card. And when he asked his mother about it, she said that it was something that the wives did for their husbands, because it would be fun to just be somebody else fully for a moment. And maybe it was this window that propelled into this other world? It’s also a significant inflection point that might have brought about Jude’s dad’s death? The pencil could have been significant in World0 if Jude and June had done anything…and then Jude protected himself from Derek by stabbing him in the neck. It’s a significant sequence of events that were avoided. The closet is showing the characters the potential eventuality.
Whenever a movie creator tells me my theory about how his movie is “pretty right”, I am going to take that as a moral victory.
Question #2: Explain the various worlds June & Jude go to.
In my diagram I show three worlds – but it could very well be that there were seven. If you subscribe to the flimsy theory that we see a new universe in this wild multi-verse (one for each time a character entered the closet) then the number is seven. If you believe it’s seven, then that would be a play out of Coherence‘s playbook, also Russian Doll (I am currently doing a write up on that one), and even Bandersnatch maybe, depending on the theory you subscribe to there.
Question #3: Why couldn’t Jude travel when he reentered the closet alone in the second world?
I literally have no idea. Why don’t we chat with Chris Eigeman and see what he says about this particular question.
So there was two things necessary to make this jump happen for Jude. The first was his Talisman – his mom’s playing card. And the second was June apparently.
Question #4: Who the heck is this Mr. Wallace?
Final Thoughts on Seven in Heaven
Most movies clever science fiction movies with mind blowing mechanics utilize the mechanic just to tell a deeper story. Shane Carruth’s Primer is the best example of this. Most people get caught up in the time travel elements that they lose site of the actual story that is happening right in front of their eyes. Which was the story of a friendship rent in two by their sudden omnipotence. So what is the larger story that is being told right in front of our eyes that maybe we are missing? I personally think it’s a story about our fears and insecurities coming home to roost. Maybe even more specifically its about teenage fears and insecurities. And how they can overwhelm us if we allow them. Fears about friends. “Are you my friend Kent?” Fears about sex. “Did I do OK June?” Fears about belonging and about being accepted. But maybe I’m being a little bit too generous here? And any story about fears is OK by me. But I have to say that the ending got a bit muddy when we jumped to world2 and the game started. I don’t know, what did you guys think of Seven in Heaven? If you want to see a movie that tells a story not about time travel but about traveling the multi-verse perfectly, you have to check out Coherence. It definitely is the movie to beat in this genre.
Edited by, CY