"About Time"

Last night I went to see for a second time (with a couple of friends) “About Time”, the latest from Richard Curtis ("Love Actually", "Notting Hill", "Four Weddings + A Funeral”...), co-starring the ever-wonderful Bill Nighy (a national institution). It was just as enjoyable the second time and it was lovely to hear and see that my friends were enjoying it as much as I was. It’s coming to the end of its run now, but I thought I’d share something that I wrote in an e-mail to another friend after having seen it for the first time…


It starts out as a fairly conventional, though delightfully acted romantic comedy, but after an hour or so it turns into something far more profound, thought-provoking and moving. It accomplishes this change of tone without sacrificing what made the first hour a success (the strong, funny, touching central relationship between a young couple madly in love and obviously made for each other, played by the wonderfully charming and likeable pairing of Domhnall Gleeson (Tim) and Rachel McAdams (Mary)), whilst developing what is actually the emotional core of the film, the father-son relationship that frames the whole story.

This second half of the film is far less interested in the highs and lows of a romantic relationship (will they/won’t they plot contrivances, etc...) than in exploring the ties that bond us to one another in our family relationships and elsewhere. By the end I was in floods of tears and I was not the only one in the cinema, far from it. I think it's Curtis' best film and one of the nicest British films I've seen in a long time (and that’s not damning with faint praise, I assure you). It's not perfect (one or two moments of humour are a tad forced, and some of the time-travelling seems to undermine its own rules that are set up early in the film) but in some ways that's part of its charm and I'll be going back to see it again, and possibly another time after that, bringing friends to enjoy it hopefully.

One could accuse the film of being overly sentimental (and many hard-hearted critics have), but I think that would be grossly unfair. Its sentiment comes accompanied by a deliciously English stiff upper lip matter-of-fact-ness, as exemplified by Tim’s mum, played by Lyndsey Duncan. Yes, its central characters are unashamedly middle-class, but that hasn’t stopped shows like Downton Abbey from becoming successful and it wasn’t a problem for me here.

This trailer doesn’t really do it justice, but gives you a flavour:

Whatever you do, DO NOT watch the full official trailer as it gives away 2\3rds of the plot!

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