About Time

Directed By: Richard Curtis

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, and Margot Robbie

A couple of months ago, I said that the age of romantic comedies was over.  As the fall season has demonstrated, I might have to retract my statement.  Since then, we've seen British rom com I Give It a Year.  We came back stateside last month with the charming indie Enough Said starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini.  Now, we're headed back across the pond for the British science fiction romantic comedy About Time.  I must admit that I was wrong as we have a fairly diverse lot of funny love movies hitting theaters this fall.

Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) has all the time in the world to live his life.  On his 21st birthday, Tim's father (Bill Nighy) tells him about a special gift the men in the Lake family possess.  They can travel back in time to revisit moments in their lives and reshape them as they see fit.  Having lived a rather insulated life with his dad, mum (Lindsay Duncan), and his sister Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson), Tim would like to use this gift to get himself a girlfriend.  In his final summer at home in Cornwall, a knockout blonde by the name of Charlotte (Margot Robbie) stays with his family.  Tim doesn't nerve up and ask her out until the final night.  Things don't work out with her, but they might have if he had asked earlier.  Given his family's unique gift, Tim does just that.  Asking earlier doesn't help, however, and Charlotte breaks his heart.

At the end of the summer, Tim moves to London to begin his career as a lawyer.  Still without a girlfriend, he's certain he'll find someone in London.  He moves in with his father's friend Harry (Tom Hollander), a playwright who's hit a brick wall in his career.  One night, Tim goes out with his friend Jay (Will Merrick) to a blind-dating establishment and meets a girl named Mary (Rachel McAdams).  While the establishment takes the term "blind date" quite literally, Tim and Mary later meet outside after their encounter in the dark.  Our time-traveling lawyer instantly realizes that he's just met the woman of his dreams and gets her phone number.  The next morning, Harry tells him all about the terrible opening for his latest production, and Tim goes back to the night prior to help his friend in need.  The problem with putting Harry first is that his blind date with Mary has now never happened.  Knowing of Mary's obsession with Kate Middleton, Tim takes some rather unique measures to find her.  After all, his love life depends on it.

Every once in a while, we all need something to remind us to savor every precious moment of life while we can.  This weekend, About Time is that movie.  With his latest romantic comedy, Richard Curtis gives us a silly, cheeky, and heartwarming love story that's doesn't take itself too seriously.  It offers a great blend of romance, comedy, and drama.  Fueled by strong performances and quintessentially British humor, this is one undeniably fun movie.  Though we've seen just about everything About Time has to offer in one movie or another, this movie puts a fresh spin on an old formula. 

The actors deliver quite a few enjoyable performances and give the film this raw, happy energy.  For his part as our time-traveling ordinary Tim, Domhnall Gleeson gives us the same goofy loser type we've seen again and again in love stories.  While it's initially a little off-putting, the key is that he plays his part well and quickly finds his funny bone.  For her part as Gleeson's co-star and on-screen girlfriend Mary, love movie veteran Rachel McAdams is clearly in her element.  Given her strong chemistry with Gleeson, she shines romantically.  McAdams even delivers a few chuckles along the way.  We also have Bill Nighy as Tim's dad.  In his role, he offers a wise, fun-loving elder who embodies the core message of the film.  Nighy clearly enjoyed himself making this movie, and it shows.

As much as I enjoyed About Time, I must say that it fails as a science fiction film.  Curtis frequently and carelessly breaks the rules for time travel that he sets at the beginning of the film.  For instance, the first time Tim goes back in time to his family's New Year's Eve party, he jumps forward to what was previously the present.  That pretty much contradicts the rule that he can't jump forward in time.  When he decides to jump back in time with a female relative to help fix her life, he breaks another rule.  According to Tim's father, only males in the Lake family can travel back in time.  At one point or another throughout About Time, Curtis breaks every single rule he sets.  There are some pretty gaping plot holes as a result.

Despite its inconsistencies when it comes to time travel, About Time is a great lighthearted way to kick off the holiday movie season.  This delightful romantic comedy gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Take the film’s message to heart.  Relax and enjoy a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio with this one.