Saturday, September 28, 2013

About Time Review

I'll be the first to admit I was a little apprehensive when the invitation to catch About Time from those lovely folks at Universal popped up in my email. I really haven't enjoyed too many romantic comedy/dramas in my lifetime. I always find them terribly cliched and predictable with horribly unrealistic characters. Sure there's exceptions. Ruby Sparks and 500 Days of Summer spring to mind.

This one did have a few points in it's favour though. I love British humour and I really love some Bill Nighy. I'll see that man in anything. Writer/director Richard Curtis is responsible for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Blackadder all of which I am a big fan of. So I went a long still apprehensive but with an open mind.

What I saw exceeded all expectations

About Time has a rather unusual premise for a movie of this ilk. Our main character, Tim, can travel through time. As revealed by his father early on, the men of the family can use this ability to travel back only to moments within their own life. Simply pop into a dark room, concentrate and you can go relive (and change) key moments like kissing that girl on New Year's or change your choice of best man at your wedding. It's a real sliding doors kind of concept. Some of the time travel mechanics and rules are a little inconsistent, but really, it's not the point of the film and you don't really need to sit there and pick it apart. This is all used quite hilariously by Tim as he gets a second take at embarrassing moments or failed romantic advances but also in less selfish ways trying to help or spend time more time with his family.

It's not your traditional romantic comedy. The eventual relationship between Tim and Mary isn't the entire plot and driving force of the film. It progresses and changes primary focus between many of the key people of his life from Mary, to his sister, his children and his father. It's a film about relationships. It's refreshing to have a movie where when our protagonist gets the girl and isn't in constant danger is losing her. You see the point where you think Tim is going to ruin everything predictably, but he doesn't. Maybe it's because of the onslaught of very the same American romantic comedies we see but this was all a breath of fresh air to me.

Our leads Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams have terrific chemistry. In fact, I don't think I've seen a movie where she hasn't had chemistry with her male lead. She always feels so very genuine in her affections. Gleeson is a fine lead in that dorky, quiet british kind of way. Bill Nighy steals every scene he's in as Tim's father. By the end of the film you'll wish he was your Dad too. In fact I can't really fault any of the cast. From top to bottom everyone puts in fine performances.

It will make you laugh as much as punches you in the face with emotions. If you have a heart you'll want to go and give your Dad a hug afterwards. It's a great date movie and one of the better films you'll see this year.

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