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Film

Film review: About Time

On October 15, 2013

By Sophia Whitfield

Richard Curtis is well known for his sentimental romantic comedies. He has brought us such gems as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually, to name a few. Curtis always manages to accrue a talented cast, predominantly British, usually with one token American. In About Time Rachel McAdams follows on where Andie MacDowell, Julia Roberts and Laura Linney left off.

Bill Nighy has starred in four of Curtis’s films and is positively enchanting in About Time. He plays a father, a retired academic, living in idyllic Cornwall – it does appear to be one continual summer!

Domhnall Gleeson plays Tim, Nighy’s son. On the day of his 21st birthday his father shares with him a family secret – the men in the family have the ability to go back in time. They simply go into a dark place, clench their fists and remember the exact time they would like to be transported back to. Through doing this they can change the future.

At 21 there is only one thing on Tim’s mind – securing himself a girlfriend. After a move to London he happily meets up with American Mary (Rachel McAdams) and so begins his desperate attempt to make everything right. He flits back in time rather a lot to ensure things continue as he thinks they should.

The supporting cast is brilliant. Lydia Wilson plays Tim’s damaged, but lovable sister, Richard Cordery is the typically eccentric uncle and Tim’s mother is played by Lindsay Duncan with the perfect mix of elegance and spirit.

There are some typically Curtis scenes. Flashcards are used in a similar way to the famous scene in Love Actually and a party scene with food brings back memories. The narration at the beginning of the film, by Domhnall Gleeson, is so reminiscent of Hugh Grant, it could almost be him. But despite the familiarity of parts of this film it does achieve its goal.

The main crux of the story is not the time travel, but the deep bond between father and son. Curtis gets this right and his storyline is played out with aplomb by both Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy. It is a feel good movie, one we have come to expect from Richard Curtis, but it does have an underlying larger message to tell and it tells it well.

About Time is released in cinemas across Australia on Thursday October 17.

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