About Time (2013)

2015 #192
Richard Curtis | 123 mins | streaming (HD) | 2.35:1 | UK / English | 12 / R

After Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) learns he can time travel back through his own life, his father (Bill Nighy) cautions him not to attempt anything too drastic — so he sets about finding love.

Ostensibly another of Curtis’ oh-so-British rom-coms, it plays that way for a while, but long before it’s done develops into something deeper: Tim gets the girl (Rachel McAdams), then learns about life, family, and what you might really want to do with such power.

About Time ultimately displays an emotional depth and maturity that marks it out from its science-fiction stablemates, and the rest of Curtis’ oeuvre too.

4 out of 5

Tomorrow: more time travel in my next 100 Favourites selection.

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6 thoughts on “About Time (2013)

  1. I’ve seen these a few times now, after the first when it was part of a rare child-free date for Mrs Mike and me. I really like the father-son aspect of it, which is my main reason for returning, but truthfully with subsequent viewings it’s sat less well with me, There’s an element of manipulation about Tim’s actions that make me uneasy, the suggestion he can just go back and rewrite time when he’s made a mistake (his courtship with the MCadams character is based entirely on his taking advantage of her likes and dislikes). Still, Bill Nighy is utterly wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That kind of manipulation aspect struck me a little on a first viewing, so I can well imagine it would become a problem the more you revisit and rethink about it. I got the impression Curtis was almost holding back, to stop Tim’s actions from crossing some kind of line, and maybe that’s part of why the film moves on from the rom-com part relatively quickly — the only way to make it longer and/or more dramatic would be to make Tim more ‘sneaky’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I’d agree about the holding back comment, and I suppose the idea was the emphasise that Tim is essentially a decent guy who only uses his powers for, well not good exactly, but certainly not for bad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, and if he’d gone “full Groundhog Day“, repeating every little moment ’til it was perfect, it might turn the viewer against him; and then the whole second part of the film with his dad wouldn’t work at all.

          Liked by 1 person

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