I may be in the minority here, but I absolutely adored Richard Curtis‘s new film, About Time. I know it’s not a perfect film but then, really, what is? Yes, there are some logic issues and you are asked to let your disbelief suspend mightily, but I don’t care. For me, it works.
The only major conceit, and the reason this film is listed as speculative as opposed to a straight romantic dramedy, is that in the family of Tim, the male lead, all the men have the ability to travel through time. I’m not giving anything away here, this is in the trailer. The caveat is that they can only travel within their own time line and the so called “butterfly effect” is dealt with by means of a little hand waving. But once you buy into that one concept, the rest of the film falls into place beautifully.
Tim meets Mary near the start of the film and, the way some people do, just knows she’s the one for him. Now, again, from the trailers this much seems fairly obvious and the film itself seems like it’s going to be a fun little romp about how the get together. It is and it isn’t.
Like Curtis’ other films, notably Notting Hill and Love Actually (which, like this, he wrote as well as directed) there’s more going on under the surface than we are lead to expect. There’s the obvious morality tale of living every day to its fullest, to understanding that it can be easy if you get a chance to do it over but the trick is to either get it right the first time or deal with the consequences. But there’s also a tale of what it means to be in love, what it means to be a father and what it means to be a son.
The performances are top notch. Obviously people will be talking about Bill Nighy as the father, who absolutely knocks it out of the park, and Rachel McAdams is wonderful as a typical Rachel McAdams character, but the real revelation here is Domhnall Gleeson (best known as Bill Weasley from the Harry Potter films) who, I think, is coming into his own and if we don’t start seeing a lot more of him in leading roles, I think we’ll be missing out on a great talent.