For once we have a time travel movie that isn’t all that confusing.
Tim (Gleeson) is the main character of “About Time.” On his 21st birthday, Tim finds out from his father (Nighy) that his family has the ability to travel backwards in time, but only during one persons life, not being able to travel to a time before the person was born.
Tim soon grasps the opportunities he has with the ability, and it helps him through life as he starts working as a lawyer in London. As time goes on, Tim also meets his true love in Mary (McAdams) and helps the relationship along with his power, however, as he does he learns that he can’t make everything perfect.
“About Time” starts off a bit slow, however, it really picks up in the second act and builds to a solid romantic comedy over the complete runtime. By the second half, it can win an audience over nicely. What helps the story of “About Time” is that it’s not simply a boy meets girl plot, there’s a deeper piece to the narrative here. The film explores the relationship between Tim and his father as well as his journey to find exactly the right way to point his life in the right direction.
The filmmakers also, thankfully, kept the movie from falling into lame romantic comedy tropes, preventing it from having some unnecessary drama. There is actually a point in the film where it looks like it’s about to take a bad turn by creating some bad drama, but it ends up avoiding it. In the end, the film is about real emotion and highlighting real struggles, creating a more human experience.
Gleeson plays the lead role well enough. Tim’s character arc allows for development, so as time goes on, the audience can appreciate who he is more and more. What helps is that his character is written to be really likeable, never really using his time travel ability in a negative way. Bill Nighy provides a strong on screen presence, too, working well with Gleeson in the scenes they are in.
When it comes to Rachel McAdams, she is OK in the movie. She never truly commands the screen in any of her scenes, so her performance isn’t the most memorable, yet she has a good enough chemistry with Gleeson that her character’s romance feels real.
Like the story itself, the comedy is something that takes a while to get into, but it builds into something strong by the end. There are a few moments that feel like misses, a wedding scene for example, seems just a bit too over the top and wasn’t very funny. For the most part, though, there is a sufficient amount of comedy.
“About Time” is a romantic comedy that is built on a more solid foundation than most. Instead of just going along simple romcom tropes, “About Time” takes time to follow a character’s journey and his relationships with all of those in his life. The likable humor and cast on top of the well above average story makes for a good viewing. 4 out of 5.