No. No no no no no no no no. I said I wasn’t going to do a pun on the title in my last article and I’m sticking to my guns. When a film title like this comes round, it seems that most reviewers salivate so much that they could flood their rooms and turn it into a swimming pool at the opportunity to make an awful pun on what is a well-meaning title. Well bugger that ship and all those who sail in it and I hope they die a deeply ironic death that others may use for awful puns. And after that lovely use of imagery, time for the review.
As everyone should guess from the trailer, About Time features Tim, as portrayed by Domhnall Gleeson (who featured as Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2) learning from his father, the always loveable Bill Nighy (Love, Actually, The Boat That Rocked, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, etc., etc., etc.) that since he turned twenty-one, he, as all male members of his family have been able to do, can travel through time. Doubtful, he tires it and discovers the truth of his father’s words. The story then follows his journey of how Tim tries to make his, and the lives of the people around him better through the use of time-travel. However, not everything can be fixed by a simple jump into the past.
And with that subliminal spoiler, let’s get onto the actual review and hopefully, the reason you’ve decided to read this article. The acting in this is sublime and, although Curtis uses his stock characters from the bumbling and quirky box, he more than anyone knows what to pick and how to implement them. McAdams, although known for playing the ditsy girlfriend (apparently, I’ve only seen her in the Sherlock Holmes which, although she plays a good part, isn’t really integral to the story), plays the part to perfection. Her chemistry with Gleeson is so believable, with a lot of the humour deriving from their relationship.
The supporting cast for this is also exception, as it always is in Curtis films. Making up the other half of Tim’s family is Lindsay Duncan (who featured as Servilia of the Junii in the TV series Rome) who plays the robust mother; his eccentric, hippie-esque sister Kit-Kat (yes that is her name. I thought it was a nickname too, but as far as I know, that’s her actual name) who is beautifully portrayed by Lydia Wilson; and Richard Cordery as the simple, yet loveable Uncle Desmond who somehow reminds us all of that one odd family member. Kudos must be given to Kit-Kat as, although a whimsical supporting character, gives a great amount of pathos to the apparent light-heartedness of the film.
Yet this is not merely the whole focus of the film, relationships are expounded upon so gracefully that one can be forgiven for missing it if it wasn’t for the obligatory epilogue speech from the main character, again another Curtis staple. About Time shows how relationships of all kinds are important in our lives, be it family, friends, work colleagues, annoying housemates, and that we should always try to see the positives in life, while having a humorous bent on the bad.Yet, although a film about time-travel and love, the trailer fools you as to what this film is about at its core, which is beautifully, even somewhat painfully, shown by Nighy’s and Gleeson’s portrayal of the relationship between father and son. I don’t want to give anything away, despite the fact this film has been out for a while now, but Nighy and Gleeson’s screen time showing the simply joys of the relationship a father and son have really sums up what the film is about.
So no, it’s not really a Groundhog Day Revisited, it’s a similar concept, but somehow done with much more grace and gentle humour that Bill’ Murray’s “in your face” effort (no disrespect to Groundhog Day fans, but when you can find humour in around five minutes of a dark screen with merely dialogue from unseen characters, you have got to be something special). I know this sounds all mushy and just like a typical Richard Curtis film, but in all honesty, what’s wrong with a typically Curtis film? It’s not going to cause any huge life changing revelations for people going to see this film, but in its own humorous and quirky way, it works its way into your heart, finding a nook or cranny to fill and lets you look back on the film with a certain joy at having known that you have watched something that, not exactly changed you, but at least made you smile, made you cry, and made you think. So long Curtis, we shall miss your directing touch.
P.S: You’ll also get to see Richard Griffiths’ (Withnail & I, Harry Potter Series as Vernon Dudley, Hugo) last appearance on film. So cheerio Griffiths, Potter fans shall miss you.