Somehow, Richard Curtis, writer of Notting Hill, Love Actually, Four Weddings And A Funeral, etc…, has discovered the key to my movie-loving heart. From his wonderfully written scripts with the perfect formulation of humor and heart, to his eccentric, yet relatable characters, Curtis’ films make up a large chunk of my favorite romantic comedies of all time. His latest film, About Time, which he wrote and directed, is no exception.
Tim (Domnhall Gleeson) is an awkwardly charming man who can never seem to summon enough courage to ask a woman out. Everything changes when Tim turns 21 and is told by his father (Bill Nighy) that every male from his side of the family can time-travel. All Tim has to do is go into a dark place (such as a closet), ball up his fists, and think really hard about the point in time he would like to travel back to. The only catch is, he can only go to moments from his own lifetime.
Immediately, Tim decides to take his first time traveling trip back to New Year’s Eve, where he rectifies an embarrassing moment of not kissing a girl when the clock strikes midnight. Tim’s next major “trip” happens soon after he moves to London, where he recently moved for a job at a law firm. There, he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), and quickly uses his special power in order to win her heart. Tim and Mary fall in love, however, as their relationship continues to blossom, it becomes apparent that the real conflict in the movie is not about their relationship together. The third act of the film instead focuses on how will Tim use his time-traveling powers to handle a more difficult situation (one that I won’t spoil in this review).
While the trailer for About Time may lead you to think it is a romantic comedy, the real heart-wrenching theme throughout the film is the relationship between a father (Nighy) and son (Gleeson). Granted, there are many cute romantic scenes between Rachel McAdams’ (The Notebook) character and Gleeson, but this is no remake of The Time Traveler’s Wife or The Notebook. Curtis has a different matter to discuss; one that involves learning valuable lessons from some of life’s toughest moments and realizing that although we may want to fix every bad thing that happens to us, some things are out of our control.
Another aspect of About Time that separates it from other films in its genre is that the characters don’t use their time-travel powers to win the lottery or stop a catastrophe from happening. Instead, they focus on spending extra time with their family and completing menial tasks, such as reading tons of books. Curtis uses the time-travel element as a means to show how short life can be, and even with all the time in the world, you always just want to spend a little more time with the ones you love.
About Time is the kind of movie you will buy at full price when it comes out on DVD and regardless of the fact that you already own it, will still watch every time you catch it on TV. Maybe it’s the likeable actors, or maybe it’s the sweet story. Either way, this movie will stick with you the second you leave the theater, and will hopefully, at least for a little while, make you appreciate the little moments in life.
My Review: A