MRR Review: "About Time"

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At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

MRR Review: "About Time"

Rating: R (language and some sexual content)
Length: 123 minutes
Release Date: November 8, 2013
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Genre: Comedy/Drama/Science Fiction

Comedy and romance are two genres that are often intertwined in film, but it is very rare to see science fiction added to the mix. "About Time" does just that, combining all three of these genres to create something truly unique. Previous attempts to make films containing these three genres have often fallen flat, but "About Time" gets the balance just right. The film's tagline, "A new funny film about love. With a bit of time travel," gives moviegoers a good idea of what this film has to offer.

The plot of "About Time" is relatively straightforward: a young man discovers time travel and uses it to change his future. Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson's portrayal of the main character, Tim, sets the tone of the film from the very beginning. His love interest, Mary, is played by Canadian actress Rachel McAdams. Despite being the only major actor in the cast not hailing from the British Isles, McAdams pulls off the accent well enough to make it seem believable to moviegoers. American actress Zooey Deschanel was also considered for the role; however, film producers decided to go with McAdams.

Experienced British actor Bill Nighy also features in the film. Nighy plays the role of Tim's father, who gives his son advice regarding time travel. New Zealand-born British director Richard Curtis ("Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Love Actually") was given the directing role, and he has suggested that this will be his last film as a director, though he still wishes to participate in the film industry in some form.

Having just turned twenty-one, Tim Lake learns that he has the ability to travel through time. His father informs Tim that all the men in their family have been able to do this. Tim tests this new skill out by going back to a New Year's Eve party and kissing someone whom he was too shy to kiss before.

The next summer, a friend of Tim's sister comes to stay with the family. Over the months, Tim develops an affection for her, but he doesn't make his feelings known until she is about to leave. She tells Tim that he should have told her sooner, so Tim travels back in time and expresses his feelings during the middle of summer. However, the girl tells him that he shouldn't have rushed into things and it would be better to wait until the end of summer. Tim is confused, but he concludes that time travel can change nothing.

After some time, Tim relocates to London to become a lawyer. Once there, Tim meets Mary on a blind date. However, that same night, Tim's friend Harry is having a hard time remembering his lines for his play. Tim decides to use his time-traveling powers to help Harry deliver an outstanding performance, but as a result, the meeting between him and Mary did not actually take place.

Tim tracks Mary down only to discover that she has a boyfriend, so he goes back in time to when Mary and her boyfriend met and takes her out on a date instead. The two become a couple, and after a few months, Mary is pregnant with Tim's child. Not long after their child Posy is born, Tim uses his time-traveling powers to try and ensure that Tim's sister and her abusive boyfriend never met. Tim manages to do this, but the change also means that Posy was never born. After that, Tim continues to be faced with tough decisions and must ultimately decide whether the ability to correct his mistakes is worth the costs.

"About Time" was supposed to be released in May 2013, but its release date was pushed back to September for the UK and November for the U.S. The film opened to mixed reviews; some critics have said that the film contains many plot holes, such as the rules of time travel being broken in some instances yet adhered to in others. "About Time" has already had a successful run in Britain, making back its production budget of $35 million and then some. Time will tell if the film will catch on with American audiences.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5