Although I openly bash on most romantic movies, it’s only because 10 years ago I found a perfect one that exemplifies just how good they can be when done right – Love Actually. Unfortunately, they’re rarely done right. But every once in a while, a good one comes along. It’s no surprise that Love Actually writer/director Richard Curtis’ latest film, About Time, joins those same high ranks.
I will not be explaining much about the film’s plot because the less you know, the better it is. When I first screened About Time (I ended up screening it twice because I loved it so much), all I knew was that it featured a twenty-something with the ability to change his past and that it co-starred Rachel McAdams. Knowing just that little bit allowed me to sit back without expectations or any idea of what’s to come. I was able to soak it in. I don’t expect you to go in as blindly, so I’ll give you just a little bit more than that.
About Time stars Domhnall Gleeson (who you might recognize from the Harry Potter films) as Tim, a kid who’s sat down by his father (Bill Nighy) at the age of 21 for a very important message – the men of the family have the ability to travel back in time. They can go back to moments from their own lives and change things, but they cannot extend beyond their own first-hand lives and cannot go forward into the future. When Tim learns this, he begins by using it to get a girlfriend, but quickly learns that you cannot manipulate people into falling in love with you.
A few years down the road, Tim meets and falls for Mary (Rachel McAdams). With her by his side, life will never be the same. As Tim matures, he learns more about the things that count in life – love, family and happiness. And as he learns, we learn. Without feeling manipulative or preachy, About Time will inspire you to be a better person. If you’re like me, as the credits start to roll, you won’t immediately get up and walk for the door. Instead, you’ll sit there silently and start mentally examining your life. You’ll look for ways to get more out of life, ways to be a better person and ways to make a positive difference. We’ve all seen the films that make you want to change one solitary thing – to stop eating this or start doing that – but I’ve never seen one that’s literally as life-changing as this.
I’ve seen many movies this year and there are still many more to see, but, as of this moment, About Time is my pick for Best Picture. It’s the most intimate, personal and beautiful tale. It reaches beyond the confined and cliched boundaries of the rom-com genre to express an honest and genuine truth. After two viewings, I cannot think of a single demographic that won’t connect with and absolutely love About Time.
(Photo credit: Universal)