This review has been written on a special demand by my friend Soumya Nanda.
Year of Release: 2013
Tim Lake (Domnhall Gleeson) is a resident of Cornwall, England who leads a normal life with his family. After he turns 21, his father (Bill Nighy) tells him a family secret that the men of the Lake family can time travel, however, only to the past and to the time they existed and places they have been to. Tim rebuffs it as some kind of joke only to find it soon that his father actually meant his words. He is however suggested to use his power in a judicious manner and not to pursue worldly pleasures like money.
How will Tim use his time-travelling skills? Will he be able to use it properly or succumb to temporary temptations?
What I liked/loved about the film: –
When you are supposed to play with complex theories like time travelling and you aren’t creating a sci-fi film, the most important thing that you need to ensure is the connection the viewer makes with the story, theme and its characters. About Time excels exactly in this arena and that makes it endearing. The movie has a heart and it plays well with its emotional strength and potential. It focusses on the rudimental details of everyday life in terms of love and relationships and how important it is to find happiness in the smallest and seemingly unimportant hackneyed entities of life. It’s beautiful how the film emphasises about one’s inability to alter every possible aspect of life or induce fundamental feelings like love in people. One has to give director Richard Curtis his credits for contributing sublimely to both the direction and the screenplay of About Time. Adding to the wonder is a stellar performance by Domnhall Gleeson who is magnetic as the central character and leads the film throughout not just by his presence on screen but even with his beautiful narration. Other actors predominantly Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy and Tom Hollander also deliver sterling acts. The chemistry of Tim with his wife, father and sister is one of the most lovable aspects of the movie and has been well crafted by Curtis. Its soundtrack as well as Nick Laird-Clowes’s score are equally delightful.
What irked me about the film: –
No matter how much you would want to ignore but you’ll eventually realise that the time-travelling technique doesn’t make an ounce of sense here. Even the restrictions and rules imposed on the same are unsatisfactory. It’s also interesting to note that as the film proceeds with its premise, the rules of the time-travel are bent unabashedly to fit in with the storyline. At times, it also feels like Curtis went too easy on the screenplay and though not predominant, it can be well sensed in a few scenes such as when Tim asks Mary out for a dinner at the house part, he acts like a complete dick and yet convinces her to join him. In a real scenario, he would have been rebuffed pretty easily. Adding to the problems is probably the underdevelopment of the characters Katherine and Harry. Both of them could have become important characters, however, they are just used as side-kicks in the film, much to our disappointment.
Final Verdict: –
It’s well understood that the time-travel thing in About Time makes no sense and can be vexing at times too. But no matter how faulty the film is in its making, it’s difficult to not like its provided you connect yourself with its story and characters. It’s not hollow in its subject and there’s a lot in it that one can learn and even relate to. Powered by its superb direction, beautiful writing and excellent performances, About Time is a soulful romantic film that anyone would love to watch and enjoy.