It is hard to think about a Richard Curtis film without a bit of cynicism. With About Time I knew many people who instantly turned their nose up at it. The characters in Curtis’ films are never too complex. Becoming more like people we know and can identify with. Just look at Notting Hill and Love Actually, minus the prime minister parts. We all go through hardships and Curtis looks at those with a jovial and very British edge.
Gone is Hugh Grant. Domhnall Gleeson takes on the main role of the slightly awkward ginger, Tim, on the lookout for love. After turning 21 he is delivered the news from his father (Bill Nighy) that he can travel back in time. Alarm bells begin to ring for some of you, but they shouldn’t. Tim chooses to use his newfound skills to find love. After all, it wouldn’t be a Richard Curtis film without a hunt for love. Tim eventually stumbles on to Mary, played by Rachel McAdams. After losing her number through time the pair finally manages to meet and it is the start of a beautiful romance.
Tim soon learns there are some limitations to time travel finally using it one last time to give his father a final hug and kiss. It is possible to say that the final scene with Nighy is one of the most touching of the entire film. Throughout the film my eyes had filled a little but that scene provided me with shivers from head to toe. There are, however, a few flaws within the film. Mainly a lack of sharpness; Curtis’ view of London is a clean one given with a dim glow around it. In his direction Curtis provides an endearing look at the capital and family values that are backed up by a brilliant cast.
McAdams proves she can navigate the role of a time traveller’s wife once again, providing her stamp on a British rom-com. Gleeson and Nighy are the prominent figures in the film, almost turning it into one about fathers and sons. Gleeson perfectly acts the character of Tim in an awkward yet attractive manner and somehow manages to bag McAdams. Not to forget Lydia Wilson who takes on the role of the slightly strange sister, a nod back to Emma Chambers’ character in Notting Hill.
While this film is clearly not the best of the year, it matches perfectly with Curtis’ want for happy endings. A film that shows just how important life is, living each day with an abundance of enthusiasm because for the rest of us we only get one chance. It can feel a little bit dull and heavy at times, and a little bit of extra trimming could have helped. There is no clear idea of what or when the film will end but it is done truly beautifully. So cast the cynicism aside and give in to the truly heart warming and touching About Time.