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About Time
Genre Romance

Richard Curtis has been entrusted with cultivating romance in British culture... well, him and the UK's policies on single mother benefits. Having written Four Weddings & A Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary and Love, Actually, you could say he's the film authority on the gooey, heartwarming thing we call love. So when Curtis writes and directs a film, we know he intends for every hopeless romantic to put a big red circle (or heart) in their calendar for date night.

About Time is different for Richard Curtis because it's a concept film, and it deals with that popular, science fiction film element, time travel. Instead of being a simple boy meets girl love story, the time travel overlay gives Curtis the power to go deeper as About Time becomes a somewhat sentimental meditation on love, life, family and missed opportunities.

You will probably recognise Domhnall Gleeson as Bill Weasley from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2 or as the techie from Dredd. You'd also be right if you linked his name back to his father, Irish screen veteran, Brendan Gleeson. Domhnall is an unassuming actor, one with a natural likability and charm. Much like Jesse Eisenberg, Gleeson seems pretty ordinary from the outset, using his relative anonymity and everyman quality to draw us into Tim's story.

Ever since The Notebook, Rachel McAdams seems to be the go-to girl when you're filming a romance drama. She's beautiful yet disarming, making her easy on the eye and approachable, the perfect construct for a dream girl. She's a sure thing and knows how to play coy tempered with a sense of warmth and humanity. Her involvement in About Time, echoes The Time Traveler's Wife and is comparable with co-lead roles in several other romance films.

Then there's the dry, witty and affable Bill Nighy, who plays Dad. He been there, done that and wants his son to experience the fullness of life for himself. His natural charisma and gentle ebb-and-flow filter in his performance as a loving father who wants to pass on the special family gift and wisdom beyond his years to his son. The father-son chemistry between Gleeson and Nighy is believable, funny and heartwarming.

There's not a detailed explanation when it comes to time travel in About Time, so you've just got to go with it. This story's more focused on the comedic and romantic possibilities of the concept, playing Groundhog Day moments up for laughs and exploring the nature of destiny and missed opportunities when it comes to love. We're treated to seaside holiday home vistas, set against a savvy and intricate London.

It's the rich characters that form the heart of this film and drive About Time. The storytelling does seem a little wayward at times, veering into subplots to gain more weight, but the emotional journey at its core holds true. Tim's adventure through time is choppy and unpredictable, yet Curtis still manages to wring some of life's ultimate truths out.

If you roll with it, About Time is an enchanting, entertaining, moving and life-affirming film that you will feel compelled to watch again. As with just about any time travel film, there are inconsistencies and nit-picking around the ethical dilemmas and effects of time travel will ruin your overall enjoyment of this otherwise, lovely, meaningful, sentimental and free-spirited romance drama.

The bottom line: Life-affirming

4.00/10 ( 2 Votes )
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