Of course, only the British could responsibly handle chronomancy. Using time travel as a cutesy metaphorical storytelling tool rather than hard sci-fi trope, About Time – written and directed by Richard Curtis – is a fun date movie with a lot more froth than hearty drink. On his 21st birthday, unassuming Tim (Domhnall Gleeson, playing a less-sleazy version of the stuttering Hugh Grant “type”) finds out the men in his family can travel through time, limited by their own lifetimes. Advised by his father to use the power to do something amazing – an early scene kindly explains away any concerns the audience might have – Tim sets about finding a girlfriend. Luckily, he meets-cute sweet Mary (Rachael MacAdams, all eyes and dimples you could drown in) several times, actually, who just happens to be the love of his life.
Gently manipulative and meandering, with an intrusive soundtrack of alt-rock treacle, About Time isn’t shy about the lessons it wants to teach. Tim does a good job trying to figure out his life, which he finds his powers can’t always fix. Even using them to help a troubled sister (Lydia Wilson) impacts his existence anyone remotely familiar with time travel stories would expect. However, About Time isn’t about time travel, or romance, even. It’s about life, and how – if we’re not careful – it can pass us by.
About Time, a Relativity Media, Working Title Films production distributed by Universal Pictures, is 123 minutes long and rated R.