After celebrating an awkward New Year’s Eve after turning 21, Tim is called into his father’s study to learn an interesting and unbelievable fact. His dad explains that the men in their family have the ability to travel back in time. Skeptical but willing to test his dad’s revelation, he goes upstairs, steps into his wardrobe, closes his eyes, clenches his fists, and mysteriously finds himself back in the middle of the New Year’s Eve party. With this newfound knowledge, Tim experiments with altering the following summer in order to connect with the woman he believes to be the love of his life. When things do not seem to work out as planned, he continues to move forward by moving to London and trying to get a legal job. On a “blind date,” Tim meets a woman named Mary and has an amazingly wonderful time, but events get in the way, causing him to review, reflect, and repeat in order to make the perfect love for a lifetime.
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson (Tim), Rachel McAdams (Mary), Bill Nighy (Dad), Lydia Wilson (Kit Kat), Lindsay Duncan (Mum), Richard Cordary (Uncle D), Joshua McGuire (Rory), Tom Hollander (Harry), Margot Robbie (Charlotte), Will Merrick (Jay), Vanessa Kirby (Joanna), Tom Hughes (Jimmy Kincade)
The chemistry between Gleeson and Nighy actually overshadows the chemistry between him and McAdams, but both acting relationships are quite wonderful. Gleeson is perfectly quirky and lovable, both through his narration and his on-screen presence. Nighy is perfect. He has a cheeky attitude and brings a warmth to the role. McAdams is adorable but has played a strongly similar character in each of her films in this category.
Richard Curtis developed quite a love story that is actually more about a father-son relationship than it is about the actually love story with Tim and Mary. Tim’s family relationships were the most important ones in his life. While he had a few friends, it all came back to his dad and sister, Kit Kat. This was great, but he was looking for more. The news from his father seemed like a dream, but he quickly learned that it was not always the best move to be brazen about going back in time. While he was able to start his relationship with Mary, he never lost his friendship with his father. But while family remained so important to him, he focused in on his increasingly wonderful life. It took a moment of tragedy and a series of mistakes for Tim to finally realize the true power of his gift and the reality of the secrets of life.
With this film having a similar feel to the Time Traveler’s Wife based on the concept, there was something that needed to be significantly different to make it stand out. Not since The Notebook has Rachel McAdams been able to play perfectly to this type of love story. The facts that the father-son relationship was that much more important and that Tim’s relationship with his sister was vital to the story’s development truly make this a more enjoyable experience. There were a couple of questions that did come up though…how was it that Tim’s dad explained the time traveling ability as backwards only but Tim was able to go forward later on? If he was able to back in time with his sister and then reversed the process, wouldn’t she possibly still have known about his secret? If he traveled all the way back to childhood, would he still have the knowledge about time travel? Does both him and his father traveling separately mess with time’s continuity?
While some may feel this is a lower-key, somewhat quirky film that does not distinguish itself as much from others in its genre, About Time is a refreshing story that is sweet with a powerful message and engaging father-son relationship.
Dan’s Rating: 4.0/5