“About Time” Review

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I will keep this brief. There isn’t precisely a lot to say on Richard Curtis‘s latest effort, About Time. That isn’t due to lack of substance or quality, but because it is just such a familiar tale wrapped up in clever trappings.

About Time follows the life of Tim Lake (Domnhall Gleason). After his 21st birthday Tim’s father (Bill Nighy) tells him that the men of the Lake family have always had the ability to travel in time. Not just the inexorable forward marching version, but they can transport themselves backwards in time instaneously. They can only use this ability to alter their own lives – no killing Hitler or saving JFK – just changing first impressions, helping loved ones, and making sure you appreciate the little things.

About Time has been marketed as a saccharine love story, the proverbial chick flick. It isn’t either of those things. Any moment it seems the story is veering into overly sentimental territory, the assured script and direction gives the audience a delightful dose of reality to keep things palatable.

Where About Time flourishes is in its exceptionally well drawn characters. Aside from the necessarily strong leads, the supporting cast is surprisingly deep and fleshed out. Through confident and capable performances matched with a solid script each character feels like an individual all their own. Be it Tim’s mother’s unvarnished, stoic opinions, or his sister’s just-this-side-of-twee quirks, or his father’s fun loving goofball behavior, each character becomes a person to get to know and appreciate.

By the end About Time is a parable on life, about choosing to focus on what matters: the small moments of beauty in the everyday. It is about choosing love, family, and happiness. It grows, perhaps, a bit too preachy with its final voice over, but About Time is a charming and lovely film well worth your own time.

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