Review: About Time (Curtis, 2013)

Still from the movie About Time

Finally, a movie I can recommend to my mother. When I first started this blog, I told her about it, and she dutifully read all my articles. Here’s what she had to say about them: “[your movie reviews] are pretty good; now I know I don’t want to watch any of them (not my kind of the movie – chick flick and happy go lucky types, hahaha).”

Unsurprisingly, Richard Curtis is the same writer/director who brought us the famous rom-coms Love, Actually and Notting Hill. He also helped to write the screenplays for the Bridget Jones movies. About Time is a much quieter affair. Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley from Harry Potter) plays a man who can time travel to his own past and redo bits and pieces–even whole years, if he wants. Sounds like The Butterfly Effect? It is anything but. It is true that the film has a Groundhog Day flavor, but there’s no “right way” here (and no vague sense of punishment from above either). At any rate, time travel geeks, save yourself the disappointment: this movie is less about time travel and more about how to live your life. In that sense, it has a sort of Hallmark feel about it. Nevertheless, I appreciated that it wasn’t trying to do anything too big. I kept expecting it to veer off into the dramatic, and I was glad that it never did. Small moments are often over-looked, much to our detriment, I suppose, since they are the stuff which our lives are mostly composed of.

I was a little worried first that Gleeson, who has the bumbling, self-deprecating, harmless British man quality of a less attractive, red-headed Hugh Grant, would play another awful somebody like he does in Frank. Spoiler: he doesn’t. Rachel McAdams is her usual adorable self–do I dare complain that she’s too adorable? Bill Nighy is amusing as Gleeson’s father, and their relationship is the most satisfying aspect of the movie.

My husband could have done without the romantic comedy elements. I admit that, while enjoyable, they leaned to the cheesy side. And some moments were saccharine sweet. Everything a little too neat and innocent with few of the complications and darkness of real life (and those present were handled in a shallow sort of way). Luckily, after Oldboy I was in the mood for something lighter, and I was relieved that it never got too dangerous. And, anyway, that’s exactly what makes it a movie my mother would like!