Everyone looks back to moments in their life that you wish you could have plucked out that perfect line, made that necessary move, pursued that fleeting opportunity; Richard (Love, Actually/Four Weddings and a Funeral) Curtis' About Time is second, third and forty-seventh chances at getting love and life right. For Domhnall Gleeson's introvert Tim the 21st birthday present he was least expecting was his Dad (Bill Nighy) telling him that the men in his family can travel through time. You can't change 'history' but you can revisit and tweak all of the moments of your life.
Curtis takes this cute sci-fi premise and collapses the scope from earth shattering cataclysm to attempt to understand what the prospect of time manipulation means to the people you love. Curtis only allowing Tim and his Dad to travel back to the moments in their life shrinks it to an intimate level. It then becomes about finding love, and the definition of happiness. However, if you're thinking that it's simply a weirdo constantly manipulating time to punch above his weight, as the beautiful Rachel McAdams on the poster may have been alluding to, you're mistaken. Curtis imbues Tim with an inherent kindness and you're rooting for him to win.
At the gooey centre Curtis doesn't just posit a beautifully realised central relationship, it's just as much about a devastatingly moving bond between a father and son. Tim's Dad is the ultimate idealic, child's view of what their father is. He's got that sage wisdom and infinite attention for every whimsical second. Curtis twists the knife, right in your daddy issues and it'll take every piece of your composure not to blubber.
There are definitely moments that Curtis gets a little heavy handed with sentimental gush, indulging his supporting characters when they don't deserve the time and it detracts. There are moments too when Curtis shifts Tim's granular focus on his specific thread in the crazy weave of time to attempting to help out a friend's misfortune; which ultimately you're not invested in whatsoever.
McAdams is a beautifully neurotic American in London that makes you believe that she loves this foppish red-head like she loved Ryan Gosling in The Notebook - and that's no mean feat. Gleeson is able to portray genuine wonderment, not only for his family's special ability but specifically for the little elements of life. Nighy is simply wonderful when he gets to exude his natural wise charm. After the machine gun assault of him in Underworld-esque roles, his faced caked in undead powdery make-up, it's so refreshing to see him playing a loveable character, dripping with Nighy's natural charisma.
About Time is Curtis campaigning the audience to cherish every single second of our fleeting existence. Yes we can.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to the audio review on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.
Director: Richard Curtis Writer: Richard Curtis (screenplay) Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson