As a regular reader of the HighDefDigest and its blog The Bonus View, I await the movie reviews with giddy anticipation. Which feature will strike the fancy of the trusted reviewers? The waiting game always yields unexpected results. On 1 November 2013, a holiday called All Saints’ Day in Belgium and a few other countries, Luke Hickman (yes, the Luke Hickman) posted his review of ‘About Time’. Careful to avoid spoilers, Luke instead captured our imagination with a tale about how the movie moved him and his beloved ones on two separate occasions.
Nine times out of ten, Luke and I share the same opinion. Me and the Luke, we have an understanding (to paraphrase Jake Blues). As such, I took his opinion and shared it. I told my friends to not read any summaries, and I encouraged them to go and see the movie with me. Belgium, as a cinematic country, replied with apathy to Luke’s gushing. No TV spots, no posters in the streets, no word of mouth. Just a few small reviews in the local press. As if the distributor wanted the movie to not be successful. Which worked, because three weeks later (the movie was released on 6 November over here), it’s practically impossible to catch it. Just one screening a day left, in a few select cinemas. I avoided the trailer, but – for what it’s worth – the clip seemed to turn off the semi-interested. Worse, the fiancée of one of my best friends even flat-out refused to see the movie after the trailer, because she feared a schmaltzy Hollywood comedy with a few flavours of The Butterfly Effect in the mix. I even posted the Luke review on her Facebook wall, to no avail.
I don’t have kids (yet), but I can perfectly imagine why About Time massively speaks to gents with an offspring. How do you savour each moment? How to make the best of each instant? And how will you ever know if you have done your utmost? Bill Nighy is fantastic as the stuttering father: subdued, subtle and understated. Movie directors know he’s a reliable source of over the top comedy (see Love Actually, Still Crazy), but he shines just as much when he’s saying nothing at all. He lets his eyes do the work for him, reading a piece of Dickens as if he reads it for the first time. Domnhall Gleeson does a superb job as a leading man. He takes advantage of the ability to travel through time, but (almost) never for his own personal gain – unlike, say, Marty McFly with the Grays sports almanac. Gleeson is charming and funny, perfectly accompagnied by the lovely Rachel McAdams who I had never seen in action before. Yes, I still have to see The Notebook. Amazing work by the Canadian thespianess (no, that’s not a word), who manages to be quirky when needed and heartfelt on cue. And vice versa, and in between, and without blinking. Impressive, most impressive.
Aided by a perfect soundtrack, cute jokes and a phenomenal cast, Richard Curtis has crafted yet another excellent script which he has subsequently directed to rousing success. While I can’t claim to have experienced the life-changing emotions Luke felt, I know this is one movie that will resonate for a long time, for many viewings to come. And I can only imagine how it will profoundly impact me once I have children of my own. About Time is not to be missed.