Friday, March 21, 2014

Let's Review Something: About Time


So, the other night while snuggling up on the couch with my wife and my eight month old son watching ‘About Time’ I found myself looking down at him and wishing upon all wishes that I could have the same conversation with him that Bill Nighy gets to have with Domhnall Gleeson in this movie.  I mean, how cool would it be to be able to your son down when he is 21 and just completely blow his mind. 

“By the way son, you come from a family of time travelers and it’s about time you start getting things right.”

So, I’m staring at him staring up at me and I’m going over in my head how cool this scenario would be, were it actually possible, and then we reach some pinnacle moments in the film and I’m again staring down at him and feeling incredibly happy and relieved that we’ll never have this conversation and that the conversations we’re going to have are going to mean so much more because of that very fact.

“By the way son, you only get to live your life once, so let’s embrace it for what it is; hiccups and all.”

A few months ago my wife and I were at the theater, I think it was to see ‘Enough Said’, when we first saw the trailer for this film.  It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you just know something is going to be special.  I have that feeling every once in a while when I’m watching a film trailer.  It doesn’t always pan out (I had a similar feeling while watching the trailer for ‘The Spectacular Now’), but when it does it really is, well, special.  I remember looking over at my wife and she was smiling and she leans in and whispers “we need to see that” and I always like when she does that because she’s rarely excited about movies in general, and so it’s nice when we can both connect on that level.  Sadly, children block us from getting to the theater often and so we had to wait.




The wait was worth it.

It’s also quite funny that it was while waiting to see ‘Enough Said’ that my wife and I first heard of this movie, because for me those two films are probably the best relationship films I saw this year, both of them separated by a certain demographic and yet connected in the pure honest and delightful way in which they develop and portray the relationships we see on screen.  While many will focus on the gimmick of time travel here, I’m so happy to say that the film does NOT focus on that gimmick.

We don’t know how or why they time travel, and quite frankly, I don’t care.

The film tells the story of Tim, a socially awkward young man who, one New Year’s Eve, is given the thrill of his life.  His father sits him down and confesses to him that he has a gift.  In fact, every male in their family has this gift, the gift of time travel.  They can enter a dark place, clench their fists and focus on a moment in time that they personally lived through and BAM, they are there and can relive it and change it even.  Of course, with this ability comes responsibility and consequence, but with it also comes some pretty incredible opportunities and advantages.


Love, marriage and a baby carriage.

But ‘About Time’ is about so much more than finding love or fixing your mistakes or perfecting yourself.  At the heart of ‘About Time’ is a beautiful story about just that, spending time.  While Tim’s instinct is to make money or find romance, his father’s approach to the whole thing is far more relaxed and laid back.  In time, Tim uncovers why, and with that knowledge his time travel takes on a much deeper meaning.

I’m just going to say it; this movie made me cry SO MUCH.  That walk on the beach DESTROYED ME.  There is nothing in the world that I wouldn’t give to live those moments every single day, but the reality of life is that it is impossible to do that.  The beauty of this film is that it highlights those moments and the ability we have to appreciate them to the full, if we try.


I give this a very easy A.  It's such a delightful film and one that really approaches familiar themes with such a light freshness.  Easily one of the best films of the year, and probably shares the spot of 'favorite film of the year' alongside 'Enough Said'.

PS.  Thank you m.brown for writing this review, which convinced me that I had to see this NOW.

16 comments:

  1. Soooo glad you liked it. Reading your review made me want to watch it again.

    I love how neither of us paid any mind to the romance angle in our posts. It was ridiculously secondary to me, too.

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    1. It was a sweet romance, but totally not what this movie was about, which was a nice change of pace.

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  2. I lovvvvvvvvvvve About Time so much. good read!

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  3. Great review. The father and son scenes (especially that beach scene!) were my favorites. I thought that their relationship was the heart of the movie.

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    1. Completely. I love how the previews made this all about a romance, but that was really sidelined for a much richer and more interesting storyline. Even the relationship between Tim and Posey is more central than the one he has with Mary.

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  4. I thought the film was very flawed and the script was uneven, but it was really a beautiful movie. Bill Nighy was excellent and Tom Hollander delivered one of the most hilarious performances of last year. This film had so much heart, in spite of all the flaws I gave it 8/10. Brits really know how to make movies about love and loving life.

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    1. Hollander was excellent. Have you seen The Voorman Problem? It's the Oscar nominated short from last year. He was pretty great in that too. He's such an underrated actor.

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  5. Great review Andrew! For some reason I haven't got around to seeing this but I like the cast. Man, who wouldn't want to have the gift of time travel!!

    – ruth

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    1. Oh, I hope you love it. It seems that everyone else is catching these flaws that I just didn't see.

      I must have been blinded by emotion!

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  6. Now I've got to see this. I had passed on it at the time because there are so many ways this could have gone wrong! You really make an excellent case for it.

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    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it, as I did.

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  7. Glad you loved it! It has its emotional moments, for sure, but I do think it's flawed. Of course, it has some great performances, and it's hard not to fall in love with Richard Curtis' films. It's a solid B for me. I'll definitely revisit it, though. Curtis' films are good for rewatches. :)

    This reminds me of the recast-athon blogathon post I did. What do you think of Rebecca Hall in Rachel McAdams' role? That alone would've improved the film for me. (I love McAdams, but she didn't seem right for this.)

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    1. I never warmed to Hall as so many others did. In fact, I MUCH preferred ScarJo to her in 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' and just didn't understand all the attention Hall was getting. It doesn't surprise me that she doesn't have a career...but then again, neither does McAdams. I quite liked McAdams here, but the story wasn't really about her so all she had to be was sweet and supportive.

      It's kind of a thankless role, to be honest.

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  8. I really enjoyed this one too. Thought it featured some delightful performances and a fittingly enchanting and funny script from Richard Curtis who managed to avoid overloading us with sentimentality despite having the control of the director's chair.

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    1. Yeah, a big reason I responded to this so much was the way that the sentiment was handled. It never felt heavy handed, even in areas where it could have. Curtis kept things light, and in the process made them feel grounded in a reality we are all part of.

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