Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
The question of what you would do if you could travel through time has always been a point of fascination for mankind.
‘About Time’ is a movie that transports you into this reality with no questions asked. Protagonist Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) finds this out for himself after a heart-to-heart talk with his father (Bill Nighy), who reveals that all men in their family have this unique gift.
But this is no heroic tale that comes with a with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility message, nor are there any juiced-up Deloreans and hoverboards here.
‘About Time’ is simply a romantic drama which deals with the everyday issues of love, family, life, and death.
If only all first dates could go so well, or could they?
The film whimsically piques your curiosity with stressful scenarios which plague the common man (or woman) such as first dates, encounters with the prospective in-laws, and even those mature activities in the bedroom.
Depending on your personal views, the film lets you decide if this reset-and-rewind capability becomes more of a crutch or a curse, with perfectionist obsessive types in the audience favouring the former and moment-embracing purists, the latter.
While the awkward and nervous Tim stumbles through the film and makes timely decisions (pun intended), his actions will make you think about whether you would have done things differently. It’s easy to lose yourself in such a premise, and you will come out of the theatre feeling inspired one way or another.
Though if all you’re looking for is a good film that does not make you psychoanalyse yourself, ‘About Time’ still provides this effortlessly.
The playfulness of the film's script and settings easily brings out the chemistry between the characters
Under the direction of romantic "dramedy" veteran Richard Curtis (‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, ‘Love Actually’), you’ll be easily entertained by the script’s sarcastic British humour and witty dialogues, the charming settings of dark-dining restaurants and seaside Cornwall, and mostly by a touching and innovative take on a love story.
Rachel McAdams has played a lover in similar time-travelling circumstances in 2009’s ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’, but her doe-eyed delivery remains a breath of fresh air, maintaining her status as one of the film industry’s most reliable romantic actresses.
Much credit goes to Gleeson, playing the troubled lead whose character trudges though several uneasy transitions in his life. His chemistry with Nighy as onscreen father and son also deserves special mention, with scenes so sincere and heartwarming you’ll be tempted to ring up your parents after this to tell them “I love you”.
Bill Nighy, together with Lydia Wilson who plays his onscreen daughter, displaying their sincere sendoffs
One line which sticks out pertinently in the film is a quote from Baz Lurhmann’s 1999 song ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’ which goes, “Don’t worry about the future, or know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum”.
‘About Time’ might not provide all the scientific answers and the secret behind the protagonist’s extraordinary genes, but it will try to give you the answers to living a meaningful life in a lighthearted and imaginative way.