By perennial rom-com writer/director Richard Curtis, About Time is a cynicism-free movie about a young man who uses his inherited powers of time travel to find life-long love and happiness.
Living an idyllic life with his close-knit family by the sea, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) is told at the age of 21 by his retired father (Bill Nighy) that the men in the family have the ability to go back to moments in their life and change the outcome of events. Determined to get a girlfriend, Tim tries out his powers in approaching a pretty girl but discovers that he cannot force real love. He moves to London to become a lawyer and meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), a manic pixie dream girl (although not as manic as Tim’s sister KitKat) with whom he has instant chemistry but then loses contact with when he meddles with time to aid a playwright friend. Eventually, using clues gleaned from their brief encounter to find out where she may be, he manages to arrange a perfect meet-cute with Mary (right before she’s about to start a relationship with another man!) Their love grows quickly and they marry and have a girl but Tim discovers that going back in time past the birth will result in having a completely different child in the present, thus imposing a limit to his powers. Meanwhile, Tim’s beloved father receives a cancer diagnosis, but he imparts some final wisdom to and shares some meaningful moments with his dear son before Tim’s next child is born.
Sentimental, warm, and life-affirming, About Time is not merely a romance but a reflection on life’s beauty and a portrayal of the love between father and son. Bill Nighy is wonderful in the role of Tim’s loving, offbeat father and best friend. Although the characters live in a hazy dream of financial and emotional stability (and the film does glide over the fact that Tim’s reality-altering power creates a fundamental imbalance in his relationship with Mary and, well, everyone else), the message of finding joy and beauty in the little moments of life is a welcome one.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Kate Moss-themed photo exhibitions