About Time is not Love Actually and that’s a good thing. Richard Curtis returns to his romantic comedy roots, nearly 10 years after he directed his beloved Christmas film, and he does so gracefully. He knows how to pack an emotional punch, how to tear at our heartstrings, and make us fall in love with the characters as they do themselves. About Time is no different. We are introduced to Tim, the redhead son of a wealthy family living in England headed by Bill Nighy. On his twenty-first birthday, Tim is told that he can travel through time to previous moments in his life, and to make wise choices about what is to be changed. He chooses love over anything else.
Domhnall Gleeson, son of actor Brendan Gleeson, gives an amiable performance as we follow him in his quest to find love. We grow attached to his life throughout, and especially so when he meets Mary. Rachel McAdams has always shined in these roles, and she does so once again. We get so invested in their life once it starts, but then Tim has to begin making some tough decisions.
The time-traveling aspect of this film allows for some humorous side plots and scenes, some unnecessary for the film as a whole, but humorous nonetheless. It isn’t until later in the film when the consequences of constant time-travel become apparent. This is the real plot of the film; and it takes over the last half of it or so. How does one choose to live their daily life knowing that they can always go back and do it different or even better? The film does contain some more stereotypical cheesy aspects, but it’s a given that these things are going to come out, it is after all a rom-com about a time-traveler.
The side characters are well developed; from Tim’s slightly free-spirited and shoeless sister Kit-Kat, his quirky uncle suffering from Alzheimer’s, to his obsessive and unstable playwright friend, and his lawyer coworker, there is enough variety in the film to keep things interesting. What the film does best is showing how much each of these characters actually loves each other. The chemistry between all of the cast members, of those in love or who love one another, is what makes this film work so well.
About Time will probably not be up for any Oscars, but it doesn’t have to be. It is a perfect movie for a cold day to go and fall in love with.