From the king of Romantic comedies who brought us Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually and the less successful The Boat that Rocked (Pirate Radio for everyone else out there), Richard Curtis is back to bring us his final directed film, About Time.
The story is centered around Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) a man in his early 20’s man looking for one thing; love. Tim admits that he’s “too tall, too skinny, too orange” and then, on the verge of manhood, his father (Bill Nighy) tells him a family secret. All the men in their bloodline can travel back in time, but only in their own life. To do this he has to go into a dark, closed place like a wardrobe and just close his eyes and concentrate.
With his newfound ability there is only one thing he wants; to get a girlfriend, so he moves to London and gets a job as a lawyer. In his time in the capital he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams, famous for The Notebook and The Time Traveller’s Wife) an American who he falls head over heels for.
After many mishaps Tim uses his gift to build the perfect romance, but after the birth of his first child he can’t go back and change anything without changing the present.
This is the best way for Curtis to leave directing behind; About Time is a beautiful, sweet, funny movie.
The story has two different parts to it; on one hand this a romantic bittersweet story about a father and son, and on the other hand a sci-fi/time traveling story, so it has to go through the rules of what he can/can’t do. After a while Curtis shows that he simply doesn’t care about the time travel, which is not a bad thing because the real story is between the father and his son.
And that is why a toast has to go to Bill Nighy, who does his best ‘Bill Nighy’ in that he doesn’t really act so much as make his character relatable to our own fathers. You can see this when he tells his son the family secret, which is wonderfully awkward.
To add; Gleeson is wonderful in the lead role and with Lydia Wilson, who plays Tim’s sister Kit Kat, you see her grow throughout the film from a troubled teen to a young mature woman. (I can’t remember why they call her that… maybe they just like the chocolate bar).
Also Tom Hollander (who played Simon Foster in In The Loop) is the funniest character in the movie, who delivers his lines so fantastically dry that it will make you laugh.
This movie has a few things that are wrong with it; for one McAdams, despite being the leading lady, doesn’t actually say nor do a lot over the film’s two hour run time. Also, why is it always an English man and an American woman?
Furthermore, the time travel aspects are flawed, and a bit too cliché. You do get the feeling that you’ve already seen it as a less dark version of Groundhog Day, and you can easily pick it apart.
The lead feels simply like Hugh Grant too, and why would you want to do that? But in the end, this film just wants you to like it, and there is so much good stuff in it to like that you just forget all of the cynicism and just become emotionally attached.
Is this movie naff? Yes, but this is basically the film equivalent of a big hug. But beware; there are bits in the movie which will make you cry. I did and it’s fine, so if you love a rom-com or more importantly a Richard Curtis movie this is at the top. So why not treat your partner, friends, and even your father and watch a heart-warming story about a father and his son.
There is a great quote at the end of the movie “We’re all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.”
Also, you will get this song stuck in your head , I have since last Sunday:
Take a Drink: When you see Rachel McAdams.
Take a Drink: When someone says the name Mary.
Take a Shot: When you say “isn’t that the woman from Pan Am?”
Take 4 Shots: If you don’t cry after this film, you are a robot