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Dir. Richard Curtis
Films made by Richard Curtis – such as Love, Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral – should probably carry a health warning for diabetics considering they are so sugary sweet (albeit with a little bit of a hard edge that just about manages to make everything bearable). But while Curtis seems to live in a world in which love conquers all, and everyone is fluffy and cute, when it comes down to it (reality note: people usually aren’t) you also get a sense he genuinely means what he says. It often results in films that you want to dislike, but just can’t help warm to (though his last effort, The Boat that Rocked, was truly terrible).
In About Time, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson, a fine performance from the young actor) finds out from his father (Bill Nighy, good as ever) that there’s a special trait in the family: they can actually time travel (though only in small bursts). Tim immediately uses it to meet the girl of his dreams: Mary (Rachel McAdams), going back in time to erase small mistakes (a slip of the tongue here, a misstep there) and steer them onto the road of a perfect relationship. But as he sorts out more small mistakes to help his friends, the complexity of time travel becomes evident, and if he wants a life that doesn’t change, then Tim will soon be forced to choose.
The central idea here is a good one (which of us have ever said something wrong and wished we could wind the clock back a few minutes to correct it? I’d wager most of us) and Curtis clearly has fun. However, it does soon get convoluted (as time travel films often do) and the vague sci-fi elements sit a bit uncomfortably with the romance.
This is one of Curtis’ better efforts; those who have a fear of ‘date’ movies / lots of romance won’t find the sci-fi stuff changes their mind. But others should find this a pleasant diversion.