Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Time-travelling fantasy about love, actually

  • Print

THIS weekend sees the opening of two movies about humanoids with godlike powers.

Thor: The Dark World is the obvious one. About Time is the more unlikely one. It’s about a young man who learns he has the ability to turn back the clock at will.

Movie Review

About Time
Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy
Globe, Grant Park, Polo Park
PG
124 minutes
★★★ out of five

Other voices

To get to the parts that are un-terrible, you have to suffer through the most idiotic plot developments and ill-defined characters imaginable.

— Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice

Dragged down by whimsy and sentiment, About Time feels like it weighs a ton.

— Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

The film’s message reveals itself to be: “Live every day as though it had a soundtrack by Coldplay.” Take that, and the rest of the film, as cynically or as idealistically as you choose.

— Chris Knight, National Post

The film left me feeling simultaneously amused and used. Could Richard Curtis go back in time and make a slightly less strenuously adorable movie?

— Richard Corliss, Time

It’s all so perfect and sparkly that Curtis would rather not break the mood with drama or plot.

— Rafer Guzman, Newsday

Related Items

That may seem like a relatively insignificant gift, compared to, say, wielding the devastating mystic hammer that is Mjolnir, but in the hands of any Hollywood hack, the talent could make for a formidable hero or villain. One thus gifted could anticipate an opponent’s every move because he had already experienced it.

Richard Curtis doesn’t go there, of course. The writer of Notting Hill, and the writer-director of Love Actually, Curtis tends to look at the world in love-coloured glasses.

Hence, a young lawyer named Tim (Domhnall Gleeson, who played Bill Weasley in the last two Harry Potter movies) doesn’t go for a cape-fitting when he learns about his talent from his eccentric dad (Bill Nighy).

Pop gives him the lowdown on this gift that comes to every male member of the family, and how to go about it: "Go into a dark place, clench your fists, think of the moment you’re going to... and you’ll find yourself there."

Dad warns him off any scheme to use the talent to get rich or do anything, you know... super. As it is, Tim sets his sights low.

"For me, it was always going to be all about love," he narrates.

Yep, with great power comes the possibility of a great hook-up. Thus, Tim sets his sights on Mary (Rachel McAdams, who trod similar turf in the comparatively grim romance The Time Traveler’s Wife), an American gal who sends Tim’s mainspring a-twanging.

And thus comes the most amusing part of the movie. In sequences that borrow from that seminal time-travel comedy Groundhog Day, Tim goes courting Mary by exploiting his temporal advantage: Every time he makes a tactical error in his pursuit, he gets a chance for a replay.

Wedded bliss is not far behind. But at this point, the movie’s romantic resolution a fait accompli, the film begins a more serious exploration of Tim’s power, utilized for the benefit of his own troubled sister Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson) and his ailing dad.

Any serious science fiction fan could easily pick holes in the time-travel premise, starting with the fact Tim is told he can’t jump into the future, when in fact he clearly can.

But it’s not intended to be studied too deeply, any more than one could consider Star Wars a serious exploration of space travel. Richard Curtis is here to charm you, and with About Time, he makes a better job of it than his previous two directorial efforts, Love Actually and Pirate Radio, which veered too often into the overly sentimental if not outright cloying. Gleeson is especially helpful here, assuming the role with a bit of necessary cheek.

Between them, Curtis and Gleeson sustain the charm with a minimum of cringeworthy bits, resulting in a sufficiently pleasing romantic fantasy.

But unlike the days of Tim’s life, it’s probably not worth experiencing more than once.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 8, 2013 D5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Stuart Murray announces musical RightsFest for CMHR opening weekend

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A golfer looks for his ball in a water trap at John Blumberg Golf Course Friday afternoon as geese and goslings run for safety- See Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge- Day 24– June 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the city grant mosquito buffer zones for medical reasons only?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google