Rom Com meets Sci Fi in Richard Curtis's About Time
20 September 2013
About Time is a new British romantic comedy science fiction film from Richard Curtis. The film, for me, was so utterly unrealistic that it was impossible to dislike. If you avoid the questions of how and why, it is easy to float away with the romance and simplicity of it.
The film revolves around the character of Tim; a hopeless romantic, desperate for the perfect girlfriend. Therefore when told he has the ability to time travel and asked how he will use it, his answer is, of coarse, “for me it was always going to be about love”. Tim’s character is endearing and thoroughly decent, he believes his childhood in blissful Cornwall was perfect and aims to recreate it. Tim, along with the entirety of the film’s cast, is kind, nice and predictably charming.
However Domhnall Gleeson (who plays Tim) rescues the character from being a soppy mess of kindness, acting truthfully and with a beautiful simplicity that complements the film. Tim’s seemingly flawless and affluent family live on the picturesque coast of Cornwall in a large house where they spend long afternoons skimming stones on the beach. Despite the fact that this is not an accurate depiction of the majority of families in Britain, and therefore should be completely unrelatable, Curtis manages to create a fondness and attachment to this oddball family.
Despite flaws such as failing to explain how, the film offers an escape from the laws of reality into a world where relationships are seemingly flawless and a farther and son can travel in time. Regardless of its predictable, slightly confused storyline ‘About Time’ allows for easy watching, amusement and a huge dose of sentimentality. As well as this the film is flooded with Curtis’s commitment to happy endings, family values and love. Accompanied by a soundtrack of feel-good, classic love songs, About Time is the type of film that even the greatest cynic needs every now and then.
This romantic fantasy glides through the first hour and a half, sliding passed the beginning years of a relationship, a wedding and the birth of two children before the film truly begins. Curtis’ purpose towards the end of the film is simple but serious. He aims to tell the audience how we should live our lives, however he cleverly does this without preaching or patronising. The message is simple- to spend our daily lives deliberately noticing, “how sweet the world can be”. The beginning of the film seems an unimportant sub-plot compared to this meaningful breakthrough, however provides light, heart-warming, entertainment.
About Time offers the question, what if you could alter time in order to make your life perfect? The film answers this conundrum towards the end with the incomplex answer of -you wouldn’t. It suggests you should just attempt to live everyday as if everything is perfect and enjoy your “extraordinary, ordinary life”. Refreshingly, the film isn’t a typical rom-com and after a slow, almost hypnotic beginning delves back into reality. Tim’s perfect family is hit with the one imperfection that finds everyone- death. The film then continues with new purpose and a gentle, tender-hearted appreciation of the important things in life.