Movie #230 2020: About Time (2013)

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: ”What is this? Richard Curtis week?” Well, the answer is an inadvertent yes. Am I sorry? No. The only movie of his I’d seen prior to starting TQR was Love Actually, and let’s just say it wasn’t my favourite movie. So here I am, trying to avenge the honour of Curtis.

About Time is a more recent Curtis romantic comedy, this time with an added splash of science fiction. There is one major similarity between this movie and his other – and perhaps better known – scripts though, and that’s that it entails a British man falling in love with a – yep, you guessed it – American woman. Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is young man who is told by father (played by Bill Nighy) that the men in his blood line can travel back in time whenever they so please. After Tim fabulously bottles it when he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) a.k.a. the woman of his dreams, he rewinds time to get the girl. This is the story of their life together and what happens when Tim carelessly messes with things that should not be tampered with.

What About Time brings is a better and more original concept for a narrative than the one in Four Weddings, even if time travel is a pretty popular plot device these days. This is different though, as romantic comedies don’t tend to feature timey wimey stuff all that often. Though this film definitely has more emphasis on the romantic and less on the comedy, there are still some definite charming and funny moments throughout.

Unsurprisingly, the performances in this movie were aptly adequate, as they are in every Richard Curtis film. Margot Robbie and Rachel McAdams are a welcome addition to any cast, and despite my personal distaste for Domhnall Gleeson, he plays this role well. Bill Nighy needs no comment. He’s a legend. Overall, there are brilliant dramatic performances across the board here.

This movie has a lot of heart and a nice message at the end of it. Was it a little cheesy by the conclusion? A little. But it was syrupy sweet cuteness that will induce a smile across anyone’s mug. As you may recall, I found Notting Hill pretty well made, but this one definitely trumps it in terms of originality and does a really good job to fit the entire story within its two hours. Of course, I was hesitant to watch a rom-com that lasts such a long time, but there’s so much ground to cover in terms of time lines and travelling through the ether that it was necessary here. The theme of time travel really serves the film well, keeping it interesting throughout.

On top of that, there’s some decent cinematography here, and the shots of Cornwall were particularly stunning. If anything, this is just as good – if not better – than Curtis’ 1999 classic.

About Time isn’t anything extraordinary, but it’s a nicely made, interesting movie with a fun twist that was much better than I expected. Definitely give it a watch if you’re into that sort of thing!

About Time is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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