About Time review

Imagine if you could travel back through time. Imagine the possibilities. You could go back and mix fistakes, make things more betterer. Wouldn't life be great?

Imagine if you could travel back through time. Imagine the possibilities. You could go back and fix mistakes, make things much better than they were before. Wouldn't life be great?

About Time is a time travel rom-com where the time travel gimmick is simply a bit of a mcguffin. It's the story of Tim (Gleeson), who on his 21st birthday is given a family secret by his father (Nighy) – all the men in the family have the ability to travel back into the past. But only to somewhere (or somewhen) that they have actually been, and experienced, in their own lives. They couldn't go back to the age of the dinosaurs, for example. Or go back and kick Hitler's grandad in the balls.

Tim is a typical Pom: nerdy, geeky, ginger, useless with women and crap at sport. Basically, a bit of a dick. Well meaning, a nice enough bloke, but a dick. As soon as he's near a pretty girl, he turns to fumbling, stuttering jelly – basically, he becomes Hugh Grant. At first he uses his new power to make slight alterations, fix minor things, but when he meets the pretty, charming American Mary (McAdams), he's determined to win her heart.

About Time is easily the best film that Curtis has made. It has touches of drama, to be sure, but this is a sweet and beguiling romantic comedy. It's better than Notting Hill and Four Weddings & A Funeral, and much, much better than Love Actually and The Boat That Rocked. Forget about the wibbly-wobbly time-wimey stuff - the film doesn't really make a big deal of it, and neither should the viewers. This is realy a film about the choice and decisions we make in life, and how we learn to live with them.

The performances all round are superb, particularly the always amazing Nighy and the utterly adorable McAdams. Gleeson is well cast as the bumbling Tim, but he does occasionally get a little lost when opposite an acting powerhouse and a great beauty. There are two relationships that form the centre of the film – Tim and Mary, and Tim and his Dad. Bith are superbly written and developed, but a few of the subplots feel a little tacked on and underdeveloped. But no matter, this is a fine piece of work from Curtis, who has said that About Time will be his final film in the director's chair. It's great to see him go out on a high.

About Time at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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