By JULIA MOSER
Imagine if you could go back in time in your own life and fix every awkward moment — you would probably end up married to Rachel McAdams, no? That is essentially the premise of About Time, starring Domhnall Gleeson (AKA Bill Weasley), Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy (like every British movie in the last 30 years).
On his son’s 21st birthday, Bill Nighy (his character doesn’t have a name, I checked) calls his son, Tim (Gleeson), into his office, a marvelous wood paneled room with piles and piles of books strewn about and a fantastic view of the oceanside cliffs. Nighy tells his son that the men in their family have the ability to travel back in time. There are a couple of caveats, of course: one can only travel back, not forward, one can only go back within their own timeline and one cannot go back past the birth of one’s child because returning to the present would mean you had a different child.
The rules of the time travel may not have been perfect, but they make for a couple of very interesting scenes. In one, Tim decides he will use his power for love, setting out first to seduce his younger sister’s stunning friend, Charlotte, with whom he has no chance. The comedic repetition of Tim’s unsuccessful attempts to woo her, following him as he learns each time from the scene before, was highly amusing.
Later, Tim uses his time travel to arrange the perfect scenario in which he can meet Mary (McAdams), with whom he has fallen in love at first sound (he hears her before he sees her, and then I guess when he does see her and realizes she’s beautiful, he wants to marry her).
The antics of his courtship are perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the film because after boy gets girl, boy keeps girl and the film becomes much more about Tim’s relationship with his sister and father.
About Time has no central conflict. The characters portrayed are basically normal, likable and financially stable individuals who have relatively ordinary problems (minus the whole time travel thing). Everything they try to solve and do, they do, in fact, succeed in solving.
That is not to say that About Time was not entertaining — it was filled with beautiful English country houses, chunky cable knit sweaters, wellies, adorable redheaded babies, Rachel McAdams wearing nearly the entire Anthropologie catalog in a fabulously decorated London townhouse and have I mentioned adorable redheaded babies (and their adorable feet)? The entire film was like anglophile porn — right down to the fact that the leading man is best known for having played a Weasley.
Additionally, the lasting moral of the film was positive — the film calls for embracing every moment of your life and living it to the fullest and whatnot. Honestly, it was just a really nice change of pace from movies like 12 Years a Slave. It was also a nice change of pace from other romantic comedies. Unlike many characters of that genre, of which I’m quite familiar, the characters in About Time are smart and make rational decisions. Frankly, I was glad that boy got girl and boy kept girl. Boy was really cute and sweet and boy deserved to keep girl. I was really pleased that there was no eye-roll inducing drama that pulled girl away and ruined boy’s life.
About Time is ultimately a happy movie, though it’s not without its teary moments (there’s a funeral and a hospital scene — it’s not entirely sweaters and baby feet.) I would not call it groundbreaking by any means, but it succeeded in brightening my day. The film was thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it — especially to the anglophiles among you.