Fans of Love, Actually have a lot to look forward to this Friday. That is the US release date(wider release coming November 8) of the new movie by writer/director Tim Curtis titled About Time. As it says in the tag line it’s “A new funny film about love. With a bit of time travel.” And what a love story it is.
This is a gentle, frequently sentimental comedy, about Tim (Domhnall Gleeson), a young man from Cornwall, who is “too thin, too tall, too orange”. He mostly bumbles his way through life and love. After a truly horrendous New Year’s Eve party, where he fails to kiss the girl standing beside him and brings her to tears, he goes to bed dejected and not wanting to face the morning. Fortunately, the dawn brings good tidings: At the age of 21 the men in his family develop a magic power – they can travel through time by entering a dark space, clenching their fists and closing their eyes. Initially, Tim is deeply skeptical but when he is able to use his new found power to fix his New Year’s Eve error he is completely sold on the concept of time travel.
Because Tim is a basically good guy he doesn’t take much advantage of his powers. He uses them to fix a blunder here and there but mostly he realizes that the magic only goes so far. For the most part it is Tim’s own charm and gentle wit that bring him to love interest Mary (Rachel McAdams) and the chemistry between them, not the use of his power, that keeps them together.
What makes the film especially sweet is that it covers every kind of love imaginable. The friendships Tim forges throughout his life with other bumbling, obtuse characters. The special relationship he shares with screw up sister Kit Kat. And most especially the deep bond he shares with his dad (Bill Nighy).
As a romance fan, I found it to be the best rom com I had seen in a long time. A large part of this is due to the sheer lovability of our leading man, a nerdy average guy who reaches through the screen and tugs at your heartstrings. Domhnall Gleeson does a great job of infusing the character with humility and sweetness. Rachel McAdams, whose beauty would normally be a detriment in such a role, downplays her looks and relies a lot on her inherent charm. It works and the character of Mary comes across as a delightful, kind girl who deserves a really great guy. Bill Nighy, who played the lovably inappropriate Billy Mack in Love Actually, gives another fantastic performance here as Tim’s much loved father.
While the film has some great laugh out loud moments it is mostly smile inducing. This fits very well with the gentle, charming story told as does the visual loveliness of the movie. The spaces can be small and cramped or slightly battered, but they exude an eye pleasing façade that make the whole movie a comfortable place to be. Even when the rain drenches everything in sight on an important day.
The film has a high schmaltz factor but for me that was a part of the delight. It was two hours of feeling good, remembering that there is real love in the world and that the most precious gift any of us can have is time with the ones we love.
While the movie is rated R and does contain some adult humor, everything here is gentle and essentially sweet.
– Maggie Boyd