Have you been craving a romantic comedy other than the typical American rom coms about a remarkably handsome guy looking for a hot scantily clad woman of his dreams? Then the British film About Time might just be exactly your cup of tea. About Time is an atypical romance film, full of wit, British charm and a quirky oddness that makes it stand apart from the rest.
The romantic lead is relatively unknown Brit actor Domhall Gleeson (son of Brendan Gleeson), who is most known for playing Bill Weasley in Harry Potter. He is perfectly cast as the awkwardly charming Tim because of his relative anonymity in the film industry. He is probably one of not many male leads who aren’t immediately attractive, but his personality that shines through, and his cute awkwardness, make for one good hearted man. I can’t imagine another actor playing his character.
The uniqueness of this story comes from a gift passed from his father (Bill Nighy) on his 21st birthday: the ability to travel back in time, but only in the confines of his own life. Tim, as any of us would, wholly takes advantage of his gift to rearrange the outcome of his life – from trying to win himself the girl of his dreams (the ardently pretty Mary, in the form of Rachel McAdams) to fixing other people’s mistakes and avoiding awkward social situations. We meet a myriad of characters in the ensemble cast, but one of the funniest and driest is definitely Tom Hollander.
Rachel McAdams dazzles as usual, but her performance fades into the background in comparison to Gleeson and Nighy. Nighy’s portrayal of Tim’s aging father is heartfelt, genuine and an absolute delight; his time on screen is one to watch. He brings his usual quirkiness to the table, but also a seriousness we don’t very often see. The dynamic between Nighy and Gleeson, not necessarily McAdams and Gleeson, is undoubtedly the focal point of the film.
The film is a whirlwind from the beginning and clicks into place much like other British romantic comedies – think Love Actually or One Day. The first half is light-hearted, fast paced, with stunning and witty scenes and a whole lot of fun. But somewhere around halfway it falls away into a more timid tone of serious issues and slower pace. Not unwelcome, but a rather huge change of tone that detracts a little from the movie – though not too much. The ‘moral’ of the story is unfortunately a little blurred. It is almost like reading a very well written essay with all the right components, but its conclusion and argument aren’t strong enough and don’t quite make sense.
But all in all, About Time is a lovely film. The quintessential London setting, British humour and atypical approach to the genre make for a welcome sea change. It does try to tackle some bigger issues, but ultimately you can look past that and accept it as it is: funny, awkward, charming and a good heart, the perfect guy or girl!