About Time: a Romantic Comedy that a Guy Could Like

About time

I was on a plane the other day & I found myself doing something unusual. I was actually watching an inflight movie selection. I usually come to these situations prepared with a slew of personal viewing options, on various electronic devices. Despite this, I do like to browse ALL options available to me. I landed on About Time; read the brief synopsis and saw that it starred Rachel McAdams (whom I like even though some of her movies are not my cup of tea, do not get me started on The Notebook). What the heck, even if it was cropped for pan and scan viewing (and it was, very poorly I might add), what did I have to lose?

Shall I begin by declaring that I find most things mislabelled romantic comedies to be insufferable. They are often neither romantic nor funny. My all time favourite, When Harry met Sally, raised the bar so high and has withstood repeat viewing and the test of time, why would I subject myself to anything less? Many have come close (Clueless, The 40-year-old Virgin, The Wedding Singer, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’ Diary),  but unless I am shackled with no place to go, I usually don’t bother. So there I was strapped in my economy class seat for the next 5 hours and I thought I would take a chance. I am glad I did, because I really liked this romantic fantasy.

The film’s protagonist is 21 year old Tim, who just learned the family secret. The men in his family could travel back in time. Essentially, these men were given countless opportunities for a do-over. Who would like that power? His Dad used the gift to read all the books he ever wanted and Tim used it to find true love.

You would think that was enough plot for one movie, but this film suprised me as it dealt with so much more than a romantic pursuit. To be more specific would risk spoiling the story.

I liked that this film kept me guessing what the whole story arc would be. I liked that it did not dwell on the logistics of time travel, but quickly established a few basic rules. I liked that this is the 3rd Time Travel themed romantic movie that Rachel McAdams has starred in. I liked its “Britishness.” That would be the dry humour and the wet scenery. I liked the way Domhnall Gleeson portrayed Tim as an awkward young man with a bad case of foot in mouth disease. He was so in need of many do-overs; what a gift he was given! I liked that there was a Waterboys song “How Long Will I Love You” in the soundtrack. It was covered beautifully and faithfully by Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney and Ben Coleman. I liked that when I told my husband that he should check the movie out on his screen, he told me how much he enjoyed it afterward and was disappointed that we landed before he could finish watching.

Some critics have complained about the creepy stalker side to Tim’s use of such a powerful gift, but I think that’s a bit harsh. I think that Tim acted as anyone would have, given the chance. This film was not the cliche riddled predictable romp I expected to be. It had witty humour that was gently balanced by a realist portrayal of evolving romantic love and much more.

To be sure, I should not have been too surprised at my enjoyment, as the film was written and directed by Richard Curtis who wrote Four Weddings and a Funeral and Bridget Jones’ Diary. I choose to ignore the fact that he also wrote Notting Hill. I look forward to watching this one again, with my daughters the next time and who knows, maybe my husband will join us.

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