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Film Review: About Time

Oct 30, 2013 Film & TV

About Time

Directed by Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis was born in Wellington but obviously left New Zealand well before he could be infected by the gloominess that has given us our trademark Cinema of Unease. His films are typically frothy, funny romances such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill.

About Time is in the same mold: it has a sunny romance at its heart and features a time-travelling father-and-son combo, who can go back in time and sort out significant social glitches such as young Tim failing to masterfully unhook Mary’s bra (Rachel McAdams) the first time they fall into bed.

Casting lanky, ginger-haired Domhnall Gleeson as self-deprecating Tim was inspired since he can do both awkward and dashing, as the situation demands. Curtis has successfully exploited this duality in his male leads before and About Time clearly marks Gleeson as Hugh Grant’s natural successor.

There are dashes of vinegar in a mostly saccharine plot to add a bitter-sweet touch, most of them involving Tim’s sister Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson), who drinks too much and has appalling taste in men. But a spot of time travel helps sort her out too, even though time-travel is meant to be an ability confined to the men in the family.

But this is a Richard Curtis film after all and logic is always subordinate to the feel-good factor, which About Time has in spades.

First Published in Metro, November 2013.

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