About Time review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
- Richard Curtis has always been one who appreciates the human spirit and all his films play to the good in people, even if the films may contain some horrible people. About Time is just like Curtis’ usual fare except for the fact that the real story isn’t the love story we were promised by the trailers but a much more personal and important one.
About Time follows Tim (Domhnall Gleeson), an introverted young man who is told he can travel through time by his father (Bill Nighy). With this discovery Tim sets out to accomplish the one thing he has always wanted to do, get a girlfriend. When he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) he does just that but the question is, will his powers ruin what he has tried so hard to get.
While most of the film is consumed with Tim’s idea of the perfect life and how he can achieve it, the films core story revolves around his relationship with his father, the man who has guided him not only through his childhood but his less than conventional young adult life. Gleeson and Nighy are excellent and share some impressive chemistry. Although the film strives to make Mary important, she plays second fiddle to Nighy and the films father son relationship.
Gleeson, although an unusual choice for a mainstream picture, makes Tim both extremely likable and unbelievably unfortunate. Curtis, a master of cringe humour and uncomfortable situations, is a perfect match for Gleeson who clearly understands the theatrics that Curtis comes to expect from his performers.
While the film lacks a conventional story it makes up for it by displaying a life well led. The film follows Tim through his triumphs and pitfalls in a natural way while only subtly changing the character. In fact for a time travel film, everything feels natural and realistic.
While not Curtis’ best feature, that honour goes to Love Actually, About Time is definitely his most grown up and for that reason it’s a pleasant and heartfelt watch.