Movie #2: About Time


I may not be a fan of romantic comedy, but I make exception for the British take on the boy-meets-girl movie. The blend of dry wit with heart-warming sentimentality has made writer-director Richard Curtis a master of these movies, having been responsible for some of my faves such as Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, and now About Time. About Time is pretty typical, but with the big difference that it includes the element of time travel. Our main-man Tim learns from his father that when the men in his family come of age, they have the ability to revisit moments in their own past to relive or alter. Their abilities do not make them “Timelords” or anything like that. Limited to their own lives, the time travel only allows them change the events within their own experience. Upon learning of this ability, Tim quickly corrects some bad choices made during a disastrous New Year’s party. But Tim learns to be a bit more careful when a chance encounter allows him to spend an evening with his dream girl, Mary (played by Rachel McAdams — who’s everyone’s dream girl, right?). At first he alters the evening to save his friend’s play (yes, it’s a bit complicated; as time travel tends to be) and ends up missing the evening with Mary. To recover, he spends the day waiting for Mary to appear where he knows she will, and the rest is timey-wimey history. Domhnall Gleeson (known to Harry Potter fans as eldest Weasley brother, Bill) is perfectly awkward-yet-charming as Tim and he is a complete natural at the kind of nerdy bumbling that is a hallmark of this brand of British rom-com. The other key element in the story is Tim’s family — primarily his sister “Kit-Kat” (a loveable free-spirit prone to bad choices, especially in love) and his father, played by Bill Nighy (the only other person who knows Tim’s secret power). As Tim and Mary’s relationship blossom into a fairly typical couple’s story, the time travel seems less central. When their lives get more complicated (i.e. other lives are involved that cannot be changed), the ability even makes decisions tougher than they would be for us normal folk who live linear lives. The time travel serves more as a metaphor for regret and being able to change the past. In the end, the sci-fi aspects are nothing more than dusted sugar on the tasty little pastry of a story full of sweet, quirky characters and heartfelt life lessons. (4 out of 5)

2 down, 48 more to go!


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