About Time: The Rom-Com that wasn’t
About Time wants you to believe its a Rom-com with Rachael McAdams playing at its center, or should I say that’s what the advertising wants you to believe. Except its not and why this amazing movie is buried under this advertising I can’t imagine. Here’s what its really about and why its so worth checking out.
About Time is a British ROM-com to some extent, It also adds a Sci-Fi element. Shortly after Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) turns 21, his dad (Bill Nighy) calls him in to have a very important chat. It turns out the men in his bloodline can travel through time. While its played down to some level Dad explains that there’s no easy path of what you should use your abilities for. Previous descendants have attempted massive fortune which did not work well and others had tried to find the correct balance. Dad used his time to read. He’s read everything he’s ever wanted more than once, Tim finds this amazing considering that even with the vast library dad has never been too busy to be with him. After giving him the basic rules (don’t all time travel movies have rules?) He can only got back someplace he’s been before so nothing prior to your own birth or random teleporting, go to a dark closet, clench your fists and you are there. Tim’s first attempt is to recreate the disastrous New Years Party.
Tim decides his mission on time travel will be to meet the perfect woman. His sister Kit-Kat has a friend Joanna stay for the summer, Tim set his eyes on Joanna. Tim is not successful even through various scenarios so he moves to London to become a lawyer. Moving in with a playwright friend of his father’s one night he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) Realizing she’s the one Tim time travels to helps a friend without thinking and manages to never meet her. (This trip back feature Richard Griffiths in his last film role prior to his death.) He spends a good deal of time trying to meet her later.
About Time is not really about his courtship and relationship with Mary. Its one of several major points. Tim and Mary’s relationship grows but there’s a subplot about his sister’s decline. When his sister’s trouble reach a head he goes back to where he believes it all starts and this is when he learns a huge part of time travel his father neglected. When he gets back tot he present and comes home everything seems normal except for one huge detail. At this point the film shifts its focus less from Tim and Mary back to Tim’s family as a whole. After a long talk with his father about how some things can’t be changed because of the ripple he tries in various ways to help his Kit-Kat’s (Lydia Wilson) outcome without changing his own outcome. While i was annoyed Tim’s father didn’t mention this earlier, the gasps the audience made when this reveal happened were heavy. About Time also continues an undercurrent theme about the parent child relationship. The trailer doesn’t even acknowledge this theme but you can’t miss it its so pronounced.
Bill Nighy I’ve always adored and he’s no less charming and amazing in About Time. His scenes with Tim are so great they feel unforced and genuine. This film is different in that its told from Tim’s point of view and he narrates important parts of his life. But its really not a typical love story at all. Its a love story but not about one between a man and woman as we’ve grown accustomed. Its about a man’s love for family above all else. He’s choices are always influenced by just how much he loves the members of his family and the strong bond they share. There are 4 people who are the center of Tim’s entire world and every single thing the film shows you focuses on them. They are supporting characters in Tim’s life who make him who he is. About Time feels less like a rom-com as it goes on and its better that way. I thoroughly felt it got better as the film moved forward.
My Rating: Full Price
Director: Richard Curtis
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: November 8, 2013
Run time: 2 hours 3 minutes
MPAA Rating: R