Having been an avid fan of the wistful romantic comedies such as Notting Hill and Love Actually, I sat rather comfortably in my cinema seat, preparing to leave with a skip in my step and a smile painted across my face after viewing About Time. And thankfully, I did such a thing, but also, with a heavy heart, because About Time eludes such great humorous panache, that it also has a strong and important message underlining.
Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is a hopeless romantic looking for someone to share his life with, who at the age of 21, learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that he can time travel and alter his past to benefit his future.
It’s an odd setting for a romantic film to take place, and it does indeed tread the ground through the first hour mark of Tim pursuing the girl he so desperately wants, altering certain points of his life to make his dream a reality. But the fire that was so eloquently lit to the audience as a ‘boy meets girl’ structure slowly burns fast and, even though the clever scripting and enigmatic actors never drain the momentum, it does draw closure on a more sensitive string of family ties.
Apart from the relationship and the life that is paved with Tim and his love interest, played by Rachel McAdams, the actual emotional subtext of About Time is between Tim and his father, and the bond that holds them together that slowly unravels with the extraordinary powers they possess. But life is an unstoppable force, and the clincher is that no amount of time travel can erase what the future holds, some things cannot be changed, and the films reverence with these themes is beautifully crafted.
About Time cleverly avoids silliness with the time travel aspect, as it never strays focus on the story it tells and how those aspects weave into the main narrative, it all comes together plausible and the finality is bittersweet.
About Time is not only a side splitting comedy, delegated to capable and charismatic characters, but also a wise and sentimental telling of fate, of second chances, love and how to exist with utmost perseverance of the unexpected day to day life that we all must pave our way through. And no amount of time travel can change that.
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