September 11, 2013
On New Year's Day of his 21st year, Tim Lake learns from his Dad that the men in their family can travel back in time to specific moments in their lives. There will of course be rules that cannot be violated lest past events altered will give rise to completely different future outcomes. Naturally kind-hearted Tim uses this inherited power to get himself a girlfriend, among other good-intentioned deeds in consciously-planned "Groundhog Day" scenarios.
Domhnall Gleeson (whom we will recognize as one of the elder Weasley brothers in the Harry Potter series) felt really sincere as dorky Tim. Rachel McAdams (already the heroine of love stories like "The Notebook" and "The Time Traveller's Wife") plays insecure Mary very sweetly. They were a delightful, very charming couple here, ideal even.
The scenes on how Tim successfully got Mary to be his girlfriend, and their turbulent wedding reception were their best scenes together. OK, Gleeson may look a bit younger than McAdams, but you still can't deny that their positive chemistry was truly palpable through the movie screen. Given the proper breaks, Gleeson (son of veteran actor Brendan Gleeson) may well be the next Hugh Grant. This character Mary is the best I have seen of McAdams.
While the bright candid poster suggests that this is a romantic love story for the ladies, men will find emotional connection with the scenes between Tim and his Dad, played by a droll and sentimental Bill Nighy. There may have been scenes which violate the very rules upon which their time-traveling is based, but the father and son sentiment was so poignant I decided to just overlook them.
The cinematography of the Cornwall coastal panorama and the streets of London was very vibrant with life. The perfectly-timed entrance of nostalgic pop songs and ethereal new tunes on the musical soundtrack adds to the emotional atmosphere created by the situations.
There might have been some scenes that I felt went a little too long, contributing to a running time of more than two hours. The whole side plot about Tim's beautiful crush Charlotte (Margot Robbie) could have been shortened, as well as that endless scene where Mary was choosing a dress to wear to an event.
Overall though, this is a very light and pleasant, very British love story by Richard Curtis, who wrote beloved modern rom-com classics like "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Notting Hill" and "Love Actually." Again like his other films, "About Time" is also about love and family, but this one had an actual fantasy element in play, and that unique magical touch adds to the fun and the romance of the story. 7/10.