What’s that? Flying solo this summer and all you wanted to do was go fetal in front of a film filled with jaunty lens flair montages of people hugging to a background of Beatles tunes and English landmarks to remind you how hideously alone you are?! Well look no further because About Time’s got you covered, and then some! That said, it was a high point of 2013’s Autumn cinematic line-up and is now a standout addition to the summer sky movies selection. It goes to show, you may not be able to “shag Hitler or kill Helena of Troy” (well, something like that) but, with a time travel wielding Richard Curtis at the helm, you sure can make a hell of a rom-com. Written and directed by the previously mentioned cinema don of Brit-love fests, About Time stars the heroically awkward, cinnamon scented lanky-love muffin Tim, played by Domhnall Gleeson, with Bill Nighy as his silky voiced time traveling padre and Rachel McAdams as the fringe-rocking girl of his dreams – all great, with Nighy edging the contest for who I want most in my immediate family. An array of lovably quirky, brilliantly observed supporting characters, of course, surround the trio. The delightfully simple, potentially handicapped, Uncle Desmond and Tom Hollander’s angst ridden, f-bomb launching playwright are a pair of stand-outs that, while failing to quite reach the comedic mountain top of Love Actually’s Collin “God of Sex”, provide more complex and believable side protagonists than LA’s zany, stock characters.
Tim’s newly discovered ability to travel back in time sporadically takes centre stage alongside the human relationships and drama at the films heart, but for the most part acts as a way for Curtis to have his cake and eat it too. Thus allowing him to orchestrate one painfully awkward, bumbling cringe fest after another; as Gleeson is able to divide his time between stammering English gent and understatedly suave ladies without the social repercussions of the former as he erases past moments of crushing social incompetence at will. About Time is one of the most engaging and enjoyable Brit rom-com’s for years and far and away Curtis’ best directional effort – benefitting from a fully expanded upon, core romance between two leads, equally charming and lovable, as opposed to being merely a clip show of amusingly kooky, yet forgetful, Brit archetypes.
One of the few drawbacks however, along with the various gaping plot holes when it comes to the time travel itself, is the total lack of edge to the film. I love watching the scrawny ginger get the girl as much as the next testosterone-light film obsessive but it would’ve been nice to see time travel used to remedy the age old problem of the delayed, cutting comeback now and again. However we’re consistently reminded from the off that T-dawg wishes to use his god-like super power for one thing and one thing only – to find true love; defying the two guilty pleasures every other person on the planet would use power over time to attain i.e. riches and bitches. Yes at times it threatens to turn into a 90 minute Christmas M and S advert and I’d advise any lactose intolerant movie viewers to shield their eyes towards the movies conclusion as a tidal wave of molten cheese gushes out of the screen, but ultimately Curtis has created a movie that encapsulates two universal themes – love and life – and you’d be hard pressed not to get on board. 7 ovaries out of I’m a woman