With About Time, Richard Curtis solidifies his status as the director most likely to make viewers optimistic about life. Already the king of romantic comedies, the Love Actually writer/director goes a step further, stressing the joy of romantic love but also the particular bond between fathers and sons. Using the concept of time travel, a gift which Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) learns on his 21st birthday from his dad (Bill Nighy) that all men in their family possess, Curtis explores these themes not in a schmaltzy Spielbergian way (often still a good way), but in a more grounded one despite the story’s fantasy parameters.
Harnessing his power for the primary purpose of landing a girlfriend, Tim does his best in a given situation though often humorously excuses himself from embarrassment to hit reset, returning moments later to right the wrong(s). Upon landing the lovely Mary (Rachel McAdams) through a magical yet believable courtship, Tim’s story becomes less about specific events and more about the life of lovable people. Thanks to Curtis’ inventiveness and the superb turns of his cast, About Time wasn’t predictable to begin with, but this turn makes it even less so and elevates the work to a celebration of human potential. Mix in the filmmaker’s trademark expert use of music (Ben Folds, Nick Cave, The Cure, The Killers, and even Nelly and Ashanti all feel like perfect choices in their respective scene) and you’ve got a consistently pleasant, funny, and tender effort that anyone with a heart should adore.
Rated R for language and some sexual content.
About Time is currently playing at the Carolina Cinemas on Hendersonville Rd.