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Review: About Time

Oct. 29, 2013by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: A young man (Domhnall Gleeson) inherits a rare gift from his father (Bill Nighy): he can travel in time. He uses his gift to woo a young woman (Rachel McAdams) and change his life for the better.

REVIEW: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Richard Curtis-land. This is a place where goodness thrives, money is never tight, and everyone- EVERYONE- falls in love. And not just love mind you. Epic, true love, complete with a meet-cute, romantic shenanigans, oh-so-clever misunderstandings, and kisses in the rain. Oh yes, and now time travel. One shouldn't forget that.

Taking my tongue out of its cheek, I should preface this review by saying that I bloody love Richard Curtis. Like Cameron Crowe, the man wears his heart on his sleeve, and his movies are nothing if not heartfelt. His latest, ABOUT TIME follows his biggest flop (but ironically his greatest film) THE BOAT THAT ROCKED aka PIRATE RADIO, and reinvents his floppy-haired, Hugh Grant hits of the nineties, with new leading man Domhnall Gleeson (son of Brendan) who, it must be said, can stammer with the best of them.

Here, Curtis gives his formula a sci-if twist, with Gleeson being able to travel through time, thanks to a rare gift passed on through his father, played by Bill Nighy. While even GROUNDHOG DAY used time travel to dip its toe into questions of morality and fate, Curtis isn't quite so ambitious. The idea of using time to gain wealth is shrugged off by Nighy early-on, who says he's never met a happy, wealthy man. Says the man who lives in a picturesque cottage in Cornwall. Rather, Gleeson uses his gifts the only way a Curtis protagonist possibly could: to find love.

Whether or not you get any enjoyment out of ABOUT TIME depends on whether you're able to watch the movie as un-cynically as Curtis made it. It's predictable, corny, and utterly without conflict or suspense, but it pushes the right buttons if you're open to it.

One thing's for sure, Gleeson is a real find. Having only seen him in the ultra-serious ANNA KARENINA and the HARRY POTTER'S (with him being Bill Weasley ), the man is clearly a star in the making. It helps that he's paired with the always eminently likable Rachel McAdams. Despite this being a slight retread of her own TIME TRAVELLER'S WIFE, she's ideally cast as the love of Gleeson's life. She's utterly adorable, and while this is familiar territory for McAdams, she plays it so damn well.

That said, she's probably the most easily won-over love interest I've ever seen, and as such, the film tends to meander on as their perfect life together goes on and on. Luckily, Curtis does have a slight twist up his sleeve in that it becomes apparent that the Gleeson-McAdams romance is actually the b-love story, and that the primary one is the love between the father and son, who share the same time-travelling gift. Bill Nighy is often wasted in roles that require him to do little more than scowl or chew scenery. Here, he's absolutely lovely as Gleeson's kindly dad, and it's their relationship that really makes the movie work, and will probably choke people up the most. Everyone else kind of fades into the background when these two are onscreen together (even McAdams) although Tom Hollander (on the great IN THE LOOP) steals some scenes as Gleeson's curmudgeonly playwright roommate.

Of course, being a Curtis movie, it also suffers from all of his common problems as well. As usual, it's lengthy, although the 125 minute running time isn't quite as punishing as LOVE ACTUALLY's or THE BOAT THAT ROCKED (in it's UK version) which both clocked-in at close to 140 minutes. There's also tons of love montages set to pop tunes, and as usual, his selection is a little generic. Do we really need yet another montage set to The Cure's Friday I'm in Love? And finally, Curtis' kindly, everyone who's troubled can be fixed by love ideal is pushed to the breaking point through the treatment of a major character, although if the biggest issue with the movie is that Curtis is too optimistic, that's a pretty minor thing. Naturally, the time travel conceit is also full of holes, but other than the aforementioned GROUNDHOG DAY and BACK TO THE FUTURE, when are time travel movies not?

Whether or not you're able to enjoy ABOUT TIME really comes down to which way Curtis' work rubs you. If LOVE ACTUALLY was an ordeal for you, than stay far away from this. But, if it made you smile, ABOUT TIME will do the same. Of the dozens of studio rom-coms that come out every year, once again Richard Curtis has delivered the rare good one.

Source: JoBlo.com

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6:11AM on 10/30/2013
I love Richard Curtis and his prevoius movies but I just couldn't fall in love with this one. Great cast (a really great one) and Curtis' humor is also good but the whole time-travel part in the film feels like a gimmick.
It's not a romantic comedy about time-travel, it's a romantic movie that has humor and some time-travel.
I love Richard Curtis and his prevoius movies but I just couldn't fall in love with this one. Great cast (a really great one) and Curtis' humor is also good but the whole time-travel part in the film feels like a gimmick.
It's not a romantic comedy about time-travel, it's a romantic movie that has humor and some time-travel.
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1:59PM on 10/29/2013

This is a horrifying concept of a movie

This is like brainwashing. Completely unethical. Like way wayyyyyyyyyyyyy unethical.
This is like brainwashing. Completely unethical. Like way wayyyyyyyyyyyyy unethical.
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12:45PM on 10/29/2013

if i want to see dohmnall gleeson in a movie that makes me cry...

...ill watch [link]
...ill watch [link]
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8:32AM on 10/29/2013

Loathed this!

Had to sit through this a few weeks ago, terrible movie.
Had to sit through this a few weeks ago, terrible movie.
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8:29AM on 10/29/2013

Loathed this!

Had to sit through this a few weeks ago, terrible movie.
Had to sit through this a few weeks ago, terrible movie.
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5:39AM on 10/29/2013
Im not ashamed to admit I got a kick out of this, Bill Nighy was superb in it and was streets ahead of Love Actually (which in fairness I hated)
Im not ashamed to admit I got a kick out of this, Bill Nighy was superb in it and was streets ahead of Love Actually (which in fairness I hated)
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8:48AM on 10/29/2013
Streets ahead, lol!
Streets ahead, lol!
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