Review: “About Time” is a movie you can fall in love with

November 7th, 2013 at 8:40 pm by under Entertainment
"About Time" poster courtesy Universal Pictures

“About Time” poster courtesy Universal Pictures

“About Time” (2013)
Rated: R for language and some sexual content
Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes
Genre: Romance/Comedy/Drama /Sci-Fi

My spoiler-free review:

“About Time” is writer/director Richard Curtis’ masterpiece…. a romantic movie that works for men and women, its perfectly sentimental with a message of love, family, and enjoying your life - its the best romantic movie of 2013… I give it 8.5 out of 10!!

Warning to parents: the R rating is mostly for language and suggestive dialogue )

You’ve probably heard that “About Time” is a time travel movie.

But its not exactly.

Just like its not exactly a romantic comedy.

Sure there’s comedy but there’s also some serious life moments that add dramatic depth to the characters.   Curtis’ movie breaks the normal convention of the guy who messes up his chance with the girl and tries to fix it…  instead this is about the guy who gets it right, then messes it up… then wrestles with when to use and when not to use time travel to “fix” things.  This movie is also more than just the typical sappy romantic comedy with sugar coated relationships… we get great character development, chemistry among the actors, and we feel great warmth and familiarity with the characters in a very short time.   Its a movie that’s tough to pigeon hole… because of its unique blending of many genres into one great movie.

“About Time” sets the “rules” quite early for going back in time, but again in this movie time traveling is a device for character development… not the major foundation of the plot.   Curtis’ story leads us to a message that the most important thing is for our main character to find the love of his life and then learn to love his life.

We get a breakout performance from relative newcomer Domhnall Gleeson who plays ‘Tim’… the “too tall too busy too orange” lad who is still looking for the love of his life… who finds out about going back in time after his 21st birthday.  He has a chance meeting (with ‘Mary’ - Rachel McAdams) and like most romantic movies – its destiny.   But Curtis’ makes it more than just an enchanted moment, we, along with ‘Tim’ start to understand the consequences of changing things, that  he has to be careful that he’s not messing with destiny.  Traversing the world of time travel is as tricky as finding true love.   Its McAdams’ best role in years as she perfectly plays the young woman in love with all her dreams and worries.   The on screen chemistry of relationship oddballs Gleeson and McAdams works perfect as the two 20-somethings both in search of their soulmate.  Bill Nighy leads the quirky supporting cast as ‘Tim”s Dad, he is great and the perfect blend of wise, serious, and funny.   Lydia Wilson is solid as the eccentric and troubled older sister, Lindsay Duncan has no problem pulling off the mother role, and Richard Cordery adds some laughs and tender moments as Uncle Desmond.

“About Time” looks great in its cinematography, editing, sets, wardrobe, and even its low budget special effects, its has a good soundtrack, is well written and well acted.  Its very sweet, sentimental, uplifting and endearing, it also feels real – modernized but sort of old fashioned.  The relationships are not overly romanticized the way that they are in so many movies in this genre and the British humor is witty but isn’t too dry for American audiences, its smart and funny and heartfelt humor.  If this truly is the last time Curtis directs a movie, he ended his directing career with a great one!  Sure you could be cynical about the sentimental and positive spirit of the movie… or you could just sit back and enjoy a great movie with an important message about life.

MORE INFO (possible spoilers):

“About Time” 

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson, Lindsay Duncan, Richard Cordery, Joshua McGuire, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie, Will Merrick, Vanessa Kirby

Director/Writer: Richard Curtis  ["Pirate Radio" (2009), "Love Actually" (2003)]

Curtis also wrote “Bridget Jones’ Diary” (2001) ”Notting Hill” (1999), “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994), amoung others.

The Plot: At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

So what did you think?  Please post a comment!

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