Directed by: Richard Curtis
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie, Joshua McGuire, Lydia Wilson
UK release date: 4th September 2013.
It's been a while since Richard Curtis directed a feature film. In the time he's taken off, he hasn't lost the sweet romanticised, everyday life narrative he's famous for. In fact, this time round he's gone just ever so slightly sci-fi with it.
Domhnall Gleeson is Tim, a 21 year old guy who can't wait to fall in love. On his birthday, he learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that all the men in his family are time travellers, so what better way for Tim to use his new found gift than to help his love life. Falling head over heels in love for Mary (Rachel McAdams), Tim begins to use his time travel simply to improve tiny mistakes he has made so that their moments feel perfect, however as life continues Tim’s caring nature takes control as he tries to change the way life has gone for others by travelling in time.
Curtis also wrote the screenplay for About Time, so there’s no surprise that the character dialogue is exceptionally delightful and plausible at the same time. Not only that, but the character development and story progression is engaging, making it no trouble to follow along because it’s so easy to be captivated by the story. An extra feel good element about About Time is that it is very funny both in the sweet, everyday dialogue scenes and when Tim uses his time travelling for specific reasons. Bill Nighy is especially a joy in every one of his scenes.
Tim is an extremely likable, relatable leading man with an ever so charming allure about him and Gleeson is simply superb portraying him. Similarly, Rachel McAdams is charming and delightful, like always, and her chemistry and comedic timing with Gleeson is so matched that their relationship reflects the most adorable moments on screen. However, the winners of the film for best chemistry goes to Nighy and Gleeson as father and son, while it might not be the selling point for About Time, their relationship is undoubtedly the highlight.
Some of the secondary characters, Tim’s younger sister Kit-Kat in particular, are crafted as likable or at least interesting characters, so it’s a shame when their input to the darker points of the narrative feel wrapped up too quickly. But despite it being two hours long, About Time isn’t a long, draining drama and if it were to be any longer, or to explore more characters, it would lose its likability.
The heart touching messages of love, being a parent and spending time with family are poignant and will stay with you after watching About Time. These emotional themes are enough to get your heart aching as well as jumping for the love that’s on the screen. Richard Curtis has smashed the expectations people will have about this film; a likable leading man, charming love interest and lots of romance and meanings.
The word lovely seems a lazy way to describe About Time, but it really is the definition of lovely. It’s exquisitely beautiful in theme, a wonderful screenplay and characters that are so lovable, Richard Curtis’ story about a man who can travel in time feels very relatable.