By Brooke McAfee
When I stepped into the theater to watch the movie About Time, I expected it to be a pleasant, but an unmemorable romantic comedy. Within a few minutes, the mixture of lovable characters, witty dialogue, hilariously awkward situations, and a little bit of magic changed my mind.
Written and directed by Richard Curtis, About Time is centered around Tim Lake, played by Irish actor Domnhall Gleeson, and his quirky, lovable family. His father, played by Bill Nighy, reveals on Tim’s 21st birthday that all of the men in their family can travel back in time to previous events in their lives. Tim uses this ability to create second chances, relive certain moments, and build a more successful love life. He falls in love with a charming, but insecure woman named Mary, played by Rachel McAdams, and after plenty of time-traveling and a variety of “first meetings,” a sweet and humorous romance begins.
Though time travel plays a major role in the film, it is certainly not a perfect approach to the complicated topic. An audience searching for mistakes may certainly find plot holes in the story, but these imperfections were overshadowed by the brilliance of the movie on a comedic and emotional level. Time travel serves as the perfect comic device, yet laughter is perfectly balanced with tears as the story unfolds to reveal a simple, but beautiful message. Many romantic comedies are simply feel-good escapism, but About Time, while still maintaining this aspect, shows a deeper understanding of love and loss.
Despite the impossible element of time travel, the love story was more believable and realistic than many implausible relationships portrayed in movies. Gleeson gives a convincing performance as an awkward man struggling to find a successful relationship. McAdams is certainly no stranger to playing the love interest, and she has great chemistry with obscure, but talented Gleeson.
Although the relationship between Tim and Mary is touching, one of the most moving stories is the love between Tim’s eccentric family, particularly the relationship between father and son. Nighy is impossible not to adore in his role as the loving father who uses his ability to travel in time to read more books and spend more time with his family. Each family member has their own quirks and issues, and it is these little details that make these characters and their stories so relatable.
The soundtrack complements the movie perfectly, and the use of songs such as Ben Folds’ “The Luckiest,” contribute to the simple beauty of the story.
About Time is 123 minutes long, and is rated R for language and some sexual content.
The movie manages to be both one of the funniest and most emotional films I have seen in a while. The writing, directing, and acting are all excellent, and as I left the cinema, it left me with a smile and a feeling of optimism.