Tim: For me, it was always going to be all about love.
The name, Richard Curtis, may not be a household one but he is the director of one of the most beloved romantic comedies of all time, LOVE ACTUALLY. His latest film, ABOUT TIME, may seem like a lesser effort, just another sappy romantic comedy, but it actually has heart, passion and an altruistic message. We were due for another smart, quirky romance and ABOUT TIME is a beautiful example that truly highlights what love in all its shapes and forms is truly about.
On Tim’s (Domhnall Gleeson), twenty-first birthday, his father (Bill Nighy) tells him that all the men in the family have the ability to travel through time. As implausible as that sounds (and is, for that matter), Curtis crafts the story in such a way that it rise above any doubts to brings across a powerful message about living life and what it means to love. The story really kicks into gear when, on a night out, Tim discovers the girl who he has been waiting for his whole life, Mary (Rachel McAdams, who was in the similarly themed but poorly executed, THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE). Now that his life is just the way he wants it to be, if anything goes wrong, all he has to do is travel back in time to fix it. He has to learn the hard way though that any small change to the past can drastically alter the future.
A story like this can either be heartfelt and emotional or it can fall apart and bore or confuse the audience. However, this is where Curtis truly works his magic taking ABOUT TIME to heights that one does not expect going in. The time traveling logic may not always be 100% sound but when is it ever? The script itself is infused with a marvellous romantic whimsy that more than makes up for any technical issues and furthermore, it is brought to charming life by the entire cast, from the delightfully awkward pairing of Gleeson and Nighy to the always lovely, McAdams, who has these roles down to a fine art at this point. ABOUT TIME is the perfect date night, girls’ night out, or romantic night in movie.
ABOUT TIME does not fall into the pits of despair and cynicism that so many other contemporary romantic comedies have to prove how love can conquer all. Even after the film is over, it lingers with you and stays on your mind, which is an odd thing for a romantic comedy to do these days. Besides, it is actually “about time” we get a heartfelt movie about the tricky topic of navigating love throughout time.