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Friday, November 8, 2013

About Time 2013 * * * 1/2 Stars

About TimeDirector: Richard Curtis
Year: 2013
Rated R
Rating: * * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy

Time travel flicks sometimes give me a headache. They're are interesting and involving but they also make you think too much. When About Time (the film I'm reviewing) ended, I was satisfied with it.  At the same time though, I was re jogging many of the scenes in my mind. What began as a love story between two people eventually turned into one man's journey through adult life. As I viewed this London based product from the director of the publicly treasured Love Actually, I couldn't help but over analyze the concept of the main character going back into the past and even in the smallest moments, changing things when vaulting back into present day. Trust me, when you see this thing it will drive you nuts because it never quite gets that part right. Therefore, in order to enjoy what's on screen, you have to not look too deep into the whole time travel concept. You basically have to enrapture yourself in the heartwarming vibe from the characters in it as well as the fact that it didn't deserve an R rating (a couple of cuss words shouldn't keep this from being a family film). You also have to believe that time travel isn't totally necessary when it comes to living a full and happy life. Those are my rules when taking in what I believe to be one of the best films of 2013.

Resembling a sort of tone down version (sans violence and escapist entertainment) of time travel oddities like The Butterfly Effect, Back to the Future, and to a fault, Groundhog DayAbout Time chronicles a young man's adult endeavors through the art of human transportation. The lead character being Tim Lake (played by a future Hugh Grant in Domhnall Gleeson, the son of acclaimed actor Brendan Gleeson), is told on his 21st birthday that all the men in his family, can travel back in time (it isn't explained why this is possible but what the heck, might as well have some mystery involved). Bill Nighy, perfect in his role as Lake's father, explains to him that all he has to do is venture into a dark space, squeeze his hands and walla, he goes to the exact moment that he imagined in his mind. For me, the centralized and loving relationship between Tim and his father, puts this thing over the top (in a good way). It sells the whole exercise formidably. Added to that, 75% of About Time, has a forwarding narration by said lead. It initially feels out of place only to emerge as a touching follicle toward wrapping things up.

Now to be frank, I was initially put off by the fact that Tim wanted to do this to you know, just get a girl to go out with him. But as the movie unfurled, he helps people on the side (friends and his sister to name a few), builds a sort of solid foundation for a family dynamic, and (spoiler alert) says goodbye to his dying father (a couple of times actually). Let me put it this way, this movie is only a little over 2 hours long. However, there is an epicness that inhabits the proceedings and you get more than what you bargained for. I felt like I had been in the theater for over three hours but believe me, I wasn't bored. Of note though, you might have to ignore the fact that no one ages a lick in this exercise (it spans somewhere between 7-10 years I'm thinking). It's a minor oversight and shouldn't keep you from enjoying it.

Also of note is the gist of Tim's time traveling plights becoming a little muddled when it comes to the workings of the plot. Thankfully, this is masked by a cast that delivers romcom acting of the highest order. This is especially inherit in Rachel McAdams as Mary, the object of Tim's affections. As expected, McAdams is effortlessly charming and fancy free. Two words describe her: glowing, radiant, eye twinkling (that's three words, oops). Along with the previously mentioned Billy Nighy, she adds leverage to the extreme likability factor embedded in About Time's character makeup.

When you put it all together, About Time is a great holiday film, a serviceable date movie, and even possibly something you can take the whole family to (ignore the R rating, trust me). Its breeziness is accompanied by the affable people in it. In scene after scene you sense that they deserve the utmost level of happiness. And that for me, is the reason why I recommend this motion picture so highly. If you cry easily during romantic comedies (this one is more like a dramedy) then bring a slew of handkerchiefs. To put it mildly, there is no doubt that About Time is a keeper. If you haven't seen it, it's "about time" you get to the multiplex stat!

Written by Jesse Burleson


  1. Great review Jesse; can't wait to see the film, and appreciate the insight on not capitalizing on the time machine!

  2. Thanks for the compliment. You'll love the film. I think you'll think of it as your favorite of 2013. Just a hunch. Jesse