Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Margot Robbie, Tom Hollander, Vanessa Kirby
Written by: Richard Curtis
Curtis' film reads like a play-by-play of his best moments. His film is the personification of the British gentry's politeness. Curtis - famous for inventing the bumbling English gentleman stereotype that he created for Hugh Grant and for coming up with the worst possible responses to any situation for his characters - even Gleeson appears to be the next model of that bumbling, lovely fool.
Curtis' films are known for their extraordinarily niceness - an aspect of filming that doesn't seem to fall beside the way side for this outing. To paraphrase a popular animated film involving an alien and the residents of Hawaii - 'It's so fluffy I think I'm going to die'.
About Time follows the inept, but disarmingly charming and affable Tim (Gleeson) as he discovers from his father (Nighy) that the men in their family can travel through time, with certain limitations - such as only being able to travel back to a moment in your own life. Certain grand notions aside - Tim's main interest is in using the power to help him secure the love of a good woman. Of course - what else could you use it for? What follows are Tim's adventures as he moves to London to live with the most condescending and misanthropic playwright Harry (Hollander), his outings with friends as he has several chance encounters with an effervescent American, Mary (McAdams) - and his attempt to make sense of it, as he discovers what life is truly about - in a typically Curtisian fashion. Tim quickly goes back to relive certain days, to correct small mistakes like a slip on the stairs or not knowing that the bra unhooks from the from - the usual, for time travellers.
The locations are stunning - the constant seaside shots, the cobbled streets - it's exactly as it would be if it was a great indie charming romance (which, you know, it is) - the cast, many of whom are old hands in this genre, are brilliantly on form. McAdams and Gleeson are so unnervingly charming that you would have to have a heart of stone to hate this pairing - similarly, Nighy and co. deliver engaging, if somewhat typical, performances.
The weaknesses, as in any Curtis film - are the script - "Oh my Arsing God", remiscient of the line "I bet James Bond doesn't have to put up with this shit" from previous films - and aspects of the story. Gleeson's "Tim" already lives a rather charmed life on the coast, is by all accounts a rising success in his field of law, albeit slowly - and has a middle class family that would put most who ascribe that moniker to shame. The characters are charming, the story is heartwarming and the piece flows along nicely - it's just a shame that the characters aren't developing well as the story goes - which may be partly down to the lack of actual climaxes put in Tim's life. What's the point of having an obstacle if he can just go back and change it?
Groundhog Day was a brilliant piece because it gave it's central Murray acted character a task - a goal. With this film, Tim achieves his own goal after about the end of the first act - after which, it's just him and the rest of his family/the love of his life trundling through the rest of their lives - learning, with the help of his power, small life lessons along the way. The lack of a central pulling theme is the one big failure of this vehicle - but, to be honest, it makes little difference in the way of enjoyment.
What the Mr. Thought:
You don't watch Richard Curtis' films for the critical acclaim - you watch them for the feel-good factor, to fall in love with the story and the characters. Just like love is blind - so too are the audience in such films, metaphorically speaking - any small imperfections turn into charming moments by Curtis' hand.
Don't expect art - but expect to have a good time. We recommend this film, highly - to round out the summer and to have you feeling all bubbly for the coming autumn.
What the Misses Thought:
What a film! What a lovely film. What a lovely, sad, amazing, funny, beautiful and inspiring film!
I love a good rom com, but this was so much more! It was snappy, the pace was spot on and while it could have been boring to see a scene replay again (you'll understand if you watch the film) the film makers didn't let it do anything of the sort.
I loved everything about this film, from the actors, the locations, the soundtrack, the script and the list goes on!
In short; please see this film!
But remember - you didn't hear that from us,
The Mr. and the Misses