“About Time” About Love
By Skip Sheffield
“About Time” is about love, actually. “Love, Actually” was a big hit for writer-director Richard Curtis in 2003. Now he is back a decade later exploring the fleeting, frustrating, elusive qualities of romantic love.
The gimmicky hook on this one is the fantasy of time-travel. In this case the gift of time travel comes automatically at age 21 to men of the Lake family of
“About Time” opens at the twenty-first birthday party of
(Domhnall Gleeson), an awkward, freckle-faced ginger-haired English lad who
aspires to be a lawyer. Tim’s father (Bill Nighy) takes him aside and tells him
a big family secret. If you want to go back in time and correct some wrong you
may have committed, all you have to do is go in a dark place, clench your fists
and Presto! You can return to any previous moment in your life. You can’t
change world history, but you can alter something you have already experienced. Tim Lake
Tim has been fruitlessly pursuing Charlotte (Margot Robbie) the gorgeous goddess girlfriend of his troubled sister Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson). As Ray Charles sang in “You Don’t Know Me,” “Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by.”
Tim goes to
sadder and no wiser at the end of summer to begin his law practice in earnest.
At a chance meeting at a night club, Tim is introduced to Mary (winsome, versatile Canadian actress Rachel McAdams), a young woman almost as shy and insecure as he is. Tim is literally bumbling around in the dark, as that is the gimmicky theme of the club. When he tries to go back and make a better impression, he goes too far and misses his connection with Mary, who has no clue as to who he is. There are certain rules that go with time-travel. Tim learns them by default.
Domhnall is the son of the great Irish actor Brendan Gleeson. You could say he is a chip off the old block, with perfect comic instincts and a regular guy appeal that is impossible to dislike. The supporting cast is equally adept, with Tom Hollander as the sardonic playwright who takes Tim under his wing and Vanessa Kirby as Mary’s tart best friend, Joanna. Bill Nighy, who has been in several of Curtis’s films, creates his most moving character to date.
The chemistry between Gleeson and McAdams is just perfect. This movie may recall those giddy moments of your first love. It did for me.