The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about the time travel rom com “About Time” in about the time it takes to watch the trailer.
You know that scene in Looper where Bruce Willis says he doesn’t want to talk about time travel because he would have to diagram it with straws? Yeah? Well, someone get me some straws.
“About Time” is a British Time Traveling Rom Com about a young man who finds out its in his ability to travel back in time on his own timeline to make changes in his life, and how he uses that to find true love. Ahhhh, time travel my old nemesis, we meet again. Look, it’s hard to get time travel right, in fact, if you are any movie other than 12 Monkeys, my guess is you got it wrong. And “About Time” is no different. But before we go there, lets talk about what it DID get right.
About Time has a great heart. There is a really moving look here at the importance of each moment and living with what we are given. There’s even some really poignant thoughts on the beauty of imperfection and grace. Some of this power is derived from the wonderful cast chemistry involved. You really get a sense that these characters deeply care for each other and the fun they have together is really fun for us as well. Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel Mcadams are adorable together and the father son stuff between him and Bill Nighy is wonderfully moving and real. Speaking of BIll Nighy, I’m beginning to think he may be one of the top 5 actors working today. Everytime I see him I fall completely in love with his performances and “About Time” is no different. He’s funny, charming, sincere, and emotional, and easily the best thing about the film. And to be honest, it’s a good thing that heart stuff works, because the plot stuff doesn’t.
Why? Time travel of course. Look, I admire the movie for setting some interesting ground rules and going high concept, but under the rules he’s given as to how he can travel in time he would have NEVER made many of the choices he makes in this movie. His use of his power is often not only unrealistic it’s completely impractical, and that’s before we even get into the layer upon layer of paradoxical situations the time travel in this film would bring out. Ok, I get what I’m supposed to do, just turn off that part of my brain and go with the movie. I WISH I COULD! But it’s endlessly distracting to me because my brain wants it to work logically. Point being, it doesn’t, and I do think it affects the overall quality of the movie. I also didn’t like the amount of narration that was used as exposition, spelling things out that we could have figured out on our own.
In the end “About Time” is a heartfelt and beautiful look at what can happen when we embrace the living moments of our relationships. Even with the frustrating distraction of time travel paradoxes another incredible performance by BIll Nighy brings it up to a B+.
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