November 11, 2013

Movie Review: About Time (2013)

Writer/director Richard Curtis is something of an acquired taste. His movies drip with a sentimentality that can easily come off as corny and rather syrupy. Still, the man knows his way around a tale and, in my opinion, makes it work. His latest outing is a genre-bending romance that brings time travel into the mix. About Time is a movie that uses time travel as a tool to tell a tale of a lifelong love. It is a movie that held me captive to its very sentimental story, its impossible characters, and its touching relationships. It is a movie that sits with other romantic mash ups I have enjoyed such as The Lake House (yes, I liked that movie). There is something about the blending of science fiction elements with romance that draws me in.

The movie stars Domhnall Gleeson (son of Brendon Gleeson) as Tim, an awkward, geeky fellow with an eccentric family led by patriarch Dad (Bill Nighy), Mum (Lindsay Duncan), and free spirited sister KitKat (Lydia Wilson). As Tim turns 21 his father takes him into his office to pass on a little family secret. Tim learns that the men in the family can travel through time, not any time and not to the future, but anywhere along their life's path that they have been. It is something that he can use but he has to be careful to use it wisely. The awkward young man decides to use it for love.

As I sit and reflect on the film, I am finding I do not have a lot to say about it. Whether that says more about the film or my ability to talk about them, I will to you to decide. I can saw that I was rather taken with this sweet tale. It is a completely impossible story with characters with nary a bad thing about them. They live relatively unencumbered lives with regrets and challenges that we would welcome over our own. Still, there is something sweet, honest, and moving about the characters as they are portrayed here.

Curtis does not waste a lot of time getting to the time travel element. It is explained, demonstrated, and put to comical use right at the start, but then it is pushed to the side. It is always there, but it becomes more of a tool than the point. We watch as Tim has the inevitable meet-cute with Mary (Rachel McAdams) and we watch as they awkwardly begin a relationship.

As the movie gets into the second half, time travel becomes a bit more prominent as Tim uses it and then suffers the consequences of it. The ability to travel through time is not something that is going to bring you happiness, but you can use it to aide in your happiness.

I don't know. I just loved watching as Tim navigated the dangerous waters of time travel, learning its rules, and the consequences of doing something wrong. I also loved watching the relationship between Tim and Mary develop, and how happy Dad is and his own choices.

About Time is about living in the moment and being able to accept the finality of things. It is a sappy, tear jerking sort of movie, but it is one that got through my defenses and won me over. It is a movie that helps balance out my horror loving tendencies and lets the world know it is all right to care once in awhile.

This is a movie I would like to revisit someday and perhaps actually have something to say about it.

Highly Recommended.

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