Abbie Peterson (Willow Shields), an aspiring animator and closeted lesbian, begins college, leaving behind her parents Mark (Lochlyn Munro) and Tish (Elizabeth Mitchell) and her autistic brother Kayden (Jonathan Simao). Kayden copes badly with her absence, and Mark and Tish wonder if they should put him in a group home. Meanwhile, Abbie falls in love with Karly (Ava Capri), but her unwillingness to come out to her parents puts a rift in their relationship.
When Time Got Louder contains examples of:
- Desk Sweep of Rage: Kayden rage-swipes the desk in his room during a meltdown.
- Diegetic Switch: As Abbie drives Kayden home from school, they listen to a pop song on the radio. The song turns into background music while Abbie packs for college.
- Disappeared Dad: Karly tells Abbie that her dad left when she was seven.
- Framing Device: After Kayden is badly injured, Abbie and her parents are interviewed by a social worker about the events of the last few months. As the flashbacks show, they aren't entirely honest with the social worker about how well things were going.
- Holding Hands: Abbie holds Kayden's hand to guide him through the crowded hallway at his high school. Later, she and Karly hold hands on their first date.
- Match Cut: From Tish pouring water to make hot chocolate to Abbie and her roommate Jen (Piper Curda) pouring drinks at a party.
- A Minor Kidroduction: The movie opens with a scene of Abbie and Kayden as children on Christmas morning.
- Security Blanket: Kayden has a stuffed Eeyore, which he inherited from Abbie. He carries it everywhere and cries into it when he misses Abbie.
- Self-Harm: Kayden is beaten by two strangers on the bus. When the police arrive, one of them yells at Kayden to calm down. Kayden starts frantically hitting himself and banging his head against the back of a bus seat.
- Sensory Overload: Kayden is easily overwhelmed by small sounds in his environment, and wears headphones to block them out.
- The Speechless: Kayden doesn't talk, although he can sometimes make grunting sounds that approximate words. He communicates with an AAC app on his phone.
- Tantrum Throwing: Kayden tries to call Abbie. When she doesn't pick up, he throws his phone at Mark.
- Their First Time: After their first date on the beach, Abbie and Karly go back to Abbie's dorm room and have sex on her bed.