Time traveler romance that is mild and charming, for couples with a case of the cuddles. About Time is how one red-haired, slightly orange-skinned romantic bumbler of a guy named Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) simply wants the girl of his dreams to love him back and live a good life. When he turns 21, his father (Bill Nighy) casually explains to him that all men in the family have the natural gift of time travel. Tim uses his gift to sharpen his romantic approach, first on the pretty and unattainable Charlotte (Margot Robbie), then on the pretty but daffy Mary (Rachel McAdams). Mary is a complicated girl in rom-com terms, so she obviously becomes Tim’s soulmate to be. He uses time travel to practice romance with her, to get the words right. He uses his gift sparingly compared to how others would likely use it.
Really. Take note Tim is such a nice guy that he never uses his gift to cause any mischief at all. Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” would stuff his face obscenely and rob an armored money truck, but here we have such a straight-arrow, morally upright kid in Tim, that he usually goes back in time just to be less gawky or to re-live something that is sentimental to him. Having Tim is like having a less handsome but stammering Hugh Grant around, he’s there to please. He’s a lad with good manners.
The truth about “About Time” is that it is romantic and sexy (hence rated R), that it relishes love that is imperfect, and that it is sentimental. It is especially sentimental when it deals with Tim letting go of Dad in his twilight years, and accepting his sister’s destructiveness. This movie is the work of the wonderful Richard Curtis who also wrote and directed that Valentine-honored classic “Love Actually,” and he has brought his trademark heartiness to this type of rom-com formula. I am sappy enough to admit that I also liked “The Time Traveler’s Wife” from a few years ago. This one is wittier, thanks to Curtis.
124 Minutes. Rated R.
ROMANTIC COMEDY / CHICK FLICK / WEEKEND CUDDLES
Film Cousins: “Groundhog Day” (1993); “Happy Accidents” (2000); “Love Actually” (2003); “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (2009).