Directed: Richard Curtis
Writer: Richard Curtis
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy |
Tagline: “What if every moment in life came with a second chance?”
Trivia: The scenes on the Underground were filmed at Maida Vale station on the Bakerloo line.
It’s Christmas Eve, traditionally, I should have reviewed the all-time-favorite Christmas movie Love, Actually. But what can be said, that has not yet been said, about this classic movie of Richard Curtis that has replaced the 1946 It’s a Wonderful Life as a Christmas night family movie.
Therefore I chose to revisit another movie of Curtis, which could just fit the same slot.
It’s easy to sneer on Richard Curtis’s work, but I cannot help falling for his rather self-indulgent romantic comedies. My level head might be crying ‘No,’ but my lopsided heart can’t help but say yes.
For me, resistance is futile when it comes to his scripts and About Time is just another one of them.
True to his statement that he writes about “people I know and like”. Our Protagonist, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is another version of Curtis male stereotype starting with Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral, only this time he is red head and lanky and as usual cannot find the words to express himself at the sight of the woman he loves.
Tim is overwhelmed to learn at age 21 that the men in his wealthy family of eccentrics share the ability to go back in time.
The news is being given to him by his father (Bill Nighy) in the most charming off-handedly fashion so typical to Nighy performances, who never fails to amuse at the very least and astonishes almost always whenever he is onscreen, undercuts the questions that critics might have about the process.
Messing with time travel can be a challenging issue as we all saw in Avengers – End Game. But Curtis wrote one of the episodes of Dr. Who, which qualifies him to play in this field.
As this is, after all, a rom-com there is a twist to this ability of traveling in time. You can only revisit and revise portions of your own life. Or as Nighy puts it, “You can’t kill Hitler or shag Helen of Troy.”
However, even with this limited version, wouldn’t any of us want such a gift? Don’t we all have those moments that we wish we could have swollen our words back, or have done things differently, or have taken a different route – this is an awesome gift that makes us want to know what will he do with it.
Being a Curtis character obviously Tim’s choice would be, in his own words: “For me, it was always going to be about love”.
Enters Mary (adorable Rachel McAdams), his dream woman, a bookish North American who he meets on a blind date (literarily – watch the movie and you’ll know why). Rachel McAdams plays a Time Traveller’s Wife for the third time in recent memory, but this time unaware of it.
And that’s pretty much all About Time is about: marriage, babies, family, holidays, and the ability to make everything just a little bit better with a quick re-do.
Tom Hollander steals the few scenes he’s in as the bitter playwright who serves as Tim’s first roommate, while Lydia Wilson is borderline Manic Pixie Dream Girl as Tim’s sister.
At the film’s heart is Tim’s moving relationship with his father, strengthened by their shared sci-fi secret and tested by the kinds of upheaval not even time travel can solve.
This is less a rom-com than a family drama and though it loses its way in the middle, it is when Curtis allows these familial ties to shine that the film comes into its own.
But what the film lacks in complex plot structure, it makes up for with dialogue and heart.
About Time isn’t just about the happy moments, but also about the consequences of going back too far in time and the frustrating inability to fight death.
The message of living each day to its fullest may be sentimental and obvious, but you may be too damn charmed by the end to mind.
Isn’t that what Christmas is all about – Sentiments, family and living each day to it’s fullest.
Merry Christmas to all of you!
Verdict – 4.5/5 Stars in my book