Being the fifth attempt to write this review (I think I have lost my mojo somewhere in the middle of my school work), I’m just going to go ahead and say that About Time surprised me! Yes, that’s my opening statement about the movie, surprise, the whole movie was a grand surprise due to the fact that I had no idea that Richard Curtis was behind it. It also helped that the trailer was completely misleading and made it all about love whilst the movie’s IMDb page doesn’t even list romance as one of its genres (it should but I agree, it’s not the main idea of About Time). Therefore, About Time was a total surprise out of nowhere into the list of my favorite comedies this year.
Let me tell you a little story because I love telling stories: it was a beautiful fall Monday and me and my coworker decided to go to the cinema. Now, I’m a lucky girl to be working where I’m working because on Monday’s we get 50% off deals for movie tickets. Excitement-excitement until we found out that this offer doesn’t apply to premiers which happened to be Captain Phillips, the movie we actually wanted to see. Sadness and other emotions came over me but we already had decided to go so we opted to watch About Time instead. The only thing I knew about it was what I had seen in the trailer: time-travel, love, romance, finding the girl, winning the girl – all those romantic things and of course Rachel McAdams. Who was surprisingly lovely throughout the movie.
As I exited the cinema, the first thing I said to my friend was that this movie reminded me of Love Actually, this being the moment where I was still totally unaware that Richard Curtis had written/directed it (how I didn’t know, well, I… don’t ask) but let’s take in the fact of how accurate was my statement!? Of course it reminded me of Love Actually because it was the same man who did both movies – he has that kind of romance/family esthetic and a signature style mixed in with that warm British humor that I love in all of his movies. So when I finally realized that Curtis was behind it, I understood everything! All of a sudden it was all clear, it made sense for me to love About Time and it made sense that it got rather emotional and it made sense that it didn’t end up too cheesy. But before I had put two and two together, I was so surprised by this movie in such a delightful way that after finally finding out it still didn’t loose its surprise element.
What made About Time so delightful in addition to Curtis, was Domhnall Gleeson – the young Irish actor who was a part of the Weasley clan in Harry Potter. Though he hasn’t stood out before, he definitely will be standing out from the crowd from now on because his performance in About Time was so sweet and heartwarming. He doesn’t look like the romantic comedy typical leading man, and no, I’m not referring to his ginger hair, I’m more or less talking about the fact that funny, good guys usually don’t win over the leading lady. He had humor and right from the start this character had wits over looks working for him and honestly, it was quite refreshing compared to the American hunky looking leading men. It also helped that Rachel McAdams portrayed this a little shy and a bit insecure woman – immediately I thought, they fit.
Though I’m comparing About Time to the typical romantic comedy mush that I don’t like, I still think on some level that the movie doesn’t really fit that genre. Yes, it is dominated by love, but it’s not about love between a man and a woman – it’s about family. I know it sounds super cliché and a bit pretentious but I do think About Time is about the different kind of love. It also helps that the plot of About Time is prolonged into a further future, meaning, the story of the two leading characters goes past them meeting, hooking up, breaking up and ending up together. So I can’t really see it as a romantic comedy due to the fact that I found out what happens to them after they drive off into the sunset. And that is also why I loved the movie, I got to see the characters grow and become a much stronger item throughout the years which is rewarding for a regular movie buff.
With this review I have kind of been all over the place, this is also the reason why I wasn’t sure if I was even able to write today but I’m gonna add another paragraph here just because I feel like it. The last thing I want to discuss is time-travel and I know it is one of the main aspects of About Time but I want to stress that it’s not supposed to be perfect. When Bill Nighy, who is just brilliant in everything, explains to Gleeson’s character that they have this gift, I was skeptical. It complicates things, it makes the whole movie a bit messy but eventually we understand its meaning and for those who say About Time portrays time-travel wrong, let them, it doesn’t bother me. For me, the time-travel aspect never overshadows the actual philosophical meaning of About Time, similar to Love Actually’s final scene, this movie teaches us something important, it tells us to live in the moment. It’s that simple.
Indeed, there are faults and the story doesn’t really make sense at times but I don’t want to pick at About Time as much as I would want to with some other movies. Somehow this movie got under my skin and I want it to stay there. And please don’t try to pull it out, I feel much better with it because I know have something new to watch during Christmas time and Mr. Curtis can be pleased because About Time will be watched together with Bridget Jones and Love Actually.