Movie Review: About Time (2013)


When Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) learns that he can travel back in time, he is skeptical at first; sure his father (Bill Nighy) is pulling one on him. He tests it out and goes back to New Year’s Eve – where he botched an attempt at a kiss from a lady. He sets matters right, and returns to the present.

His father tells him the few rules of the time travel – only the men in the family are able, you can only go back to places you have been or know of and that you cannot change huge events.

The next summer Tim uses the opportunity again. A friend of Tim’s sister visits his family, and he is instantly smitten. On her last night there he declares his love, and she tells him he should have spoken up sooner. Determined, he turns back the time, and when she then tells him to consult her at the end of the summer, he realizes you can’t force love.

Tim moves to London to go work as a lawyer. He moves in with a struggling playwright, Harry. One night, a friend visits Tim and they go to a blind dating place, and he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams). They hit it off, and when they later meet face to face, their attraction remains. He gets her number and is elated by his luck. When he returns home Harry tells him that his play went from brilliant to rubbish when the main actor forgot his last lines. Sad for his friend, he goes back in time to restore things, but when he returns his meeting with Mary never happened.

Tim starts searching for Mary and finds her, but learns that she met her new boyfriend on the night after she would have met him. Determined, he once again reverses time and introduces himself (again). They hit it off, and start dating. Tim soon proposes, and his family likes her her and is excited when they learn she is already pregnant.

When Tim finds out that his father has cancer, he is grief stricken but unable to do anything about it. His father confides in him that it is impossible to move back in time after a new life is made – so he can’t erase the damage to his lungs.

After his father’s death, Tim is still able to reverse time and go visit his father. When Mary wants to become pregnant with their third child, he takes time to make peace with the fact that after the birth he will never be able to travel back to his father. Just before the labor, he travels back and his father gives him last advice. He tells Tim to live each day twice – once to know what will happen and again to be able to enjoy it no matter what. Tim does that for a time but realizes that if you live each day as if it is your last, once is enough.

Rating: 7/10

I really enjoyed this movie. The British just know how to do everything that much better. About Time was a really good combination of romance and humor. The jokes and events have an everyday feel to it – making the movie seem real. The plot line has a few faults in it – nothing confuses me more than the mere thought of space travel, but is very enjoyable if you can manage to ignore the fact that only men can travel back (ahem). I am thoroughly jealous of Tim’s life. It looked so quiet and beautiful at his family home. He is certainly a new type of romantic hero. He is very gawky and awkward, and not the typical expected hunk. At the end of the movie, you really fall in love with him – he is such a lovely person who just uses his gift to find the thing everyone wants – love.

I think most people would find this film enjoyable – it has a good mix of genres and is therefore not boring at all.