Some films come with their audiences already owning tickets, and Richard Curtis’ upcoming About Time is one of them. Just connecting Love Actually to the film is all you need, but then throw in Bill Nighy being endearing, and add the charm of Domhnall Gleeson, who seems to have been born from Curtis’ imagination, and this film is an absolute lock. At least, it looks that way from the trailer.
You think you can keep yourself from falling for this one, especially because “time travel” is featured prominently, but just give in now.
The night after another unsatisfactory New Year party, Tim’s father (Bill Nighy) tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life—so he decides to make his world a better place…by getting a girlfriend. Sadly, that turns out not to be as easy as you might think.
Moving from the Cornwall coast to London to train as a lawyer, Tim finally meets the beautiful but insecure Mary (Rachel McAdams). They fall in love, then an unfortunate time-travel incident means he’s never met her at all. So they meet for the first time again—and again—but finally, after a lot of cunning time-traveling, he wins her heart.
Tim then uses his power to create the perfect romantic proposal, to save his wedding from the worst best-man speeches, to save his best friend from professional disaster and to get his pregnant wife to the hospital in time for the birth of their daughter, despite a nasty traffic jam outside Abbey Road.
But as his unusual life progresses, Tim finds out that his unique gift can’t save him from the sorrows and ups and downs that affect all families, everywhere. There are great limits to what time travel can achieve, and it can be dangerous too. About Time is a comedy about love and time travel, which discovers that, in the end, making the most of life may not need time travel at all.
Richard Curtis is the writer of TV shows such as Not the Nine O’Clock News, Blackadder, Mr Bean and The Vicar of Dibley. His movies include Four Weddings and a Funeral; Notting Hill; Bridget Jones’s Diary; and Love Actually and The Boat That Rocked, which he also directed. Most recently, he co-wrote the screenplay for War Horse.