Advanced screening thanks to Universal Ireland and Odeon Blanchardstown.
Tim grows up in an eccentric and warm family. When he is 21 his Dad reveals that the male side of the family can time-travel and his first instinct is to use it to get girls.
I have loved Richard Curtis’s work since Not the Nine O’Clock news and I have loved time travel in stories since I first watched Doctor Who a few years earlier. In Four Weddings and a Funeral he dealt with ‘love plus friends’, in Notting Hill he dealt with ‘love plus celebrity’, in Bridget Jones he dealt with ‘love plus work’, and in Love Actually he dealt with ‘love plus relationships’.
About Time starts out very much like all the others, young awkwardly charming man is surrounded by the staple collection of Curtis characters; an equally awkward but wise Father, a flaky sister, a resigned and loving mother and a couple of dopey friends. The sort of silly time travel element, which can only be used within his own lifetime, is introduced and once you forgive it’s nonsensical explanation it is used to good comic effect at first. In any other hands it could have been a one joke film but Curtis is better than that and shifts the focus from love to life and family. As you grow up life is not all about getting the girl and settling down, life keeps throwing new challenges at you all the time and this is where the time travel element and questions surrounding it use come into it’s best effect.
Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams are a perfectly convincing couple and their first face-to-face dinner made me very jealous of Curtis as a writer. The film then begins to focus more Tim’s relationship his father Bill Nighy (his usual charming, slightly off-the-wall self and almost manages to legitimises typecasting) and this relationship outshines the original romance. The only quibble I would have is the under-use of the character of Tim’s Uncle, he seemed to deserve a better part.
As the film shifts young romance and focuses on the realities of everyday life the balance of that comedy and truth is struck perfectly. By the end they all deliver a clear resounding message: to appreciate the people around you and everything else besides.
Bring a date and tissues.
About Time opens in Ireland on the 4th September