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About Time

About Time

What She said:

She

Let me just start by saying, it’s “about time” that The He and I indulged in a chick flick.  It seems like it’s been drama after drama lately.  In fact, there must be some sort of shortage of action and comedy movies out there. 

But anyway, let me tell you a little about About Time.  The film is a sentimental journey through the life of Tim Lake, a young fella who has just finished up college and is ready to make a place for himself in the world.  After he turns 21, his dad sits him down and gives him the big news—all the men in the Lake family have the ability to travel through time.  They cannot go into the future, but they can go back within their own lives to and manipulate the past.  The film assures us that we should not be worrying about the physics of this, explaining that “the butterfly effect” seems to be minimal. 

Hesitant at first, Tim quickly realizes that yes, the Lakes do have a remarkable gift.  He decides to take advantage of the talent in order to reprogram his love life.  After a few failed attempts, he focuses in on an American woman named Mary.  Mary is perfect for Tim in every way, but, even with the use of time travel, it’s not easy to manipulate everything the way he wants.  But things seem to be working out just grand for Tim.  That is until his sister, Kit Kat begins to have trouble.  She’s the wild one in the family, but has her charms.  Tim wants to help Kit Kat, but he realizes that he cannot use the time travel to change everything, and it does have its limitations.  As Tim approaches the issue of his sister and other unexpected problems that he encounters, he decides that certain situations require you to live in the present and do the best you can with what life delves out.  And that’s really the moral of the story.

This film is distinctly British in every way.  The quirky plot and plucky humor are both characteristic of the movie’s origins.  We’re fortunate to have the brilliant Bill Nighy playing Tim’s father.  He’s odd and charming—kind of his usual—and it works well here.  He is, by far, the best part of this movie.  Tim is played by Domhnall Gleeson.  You may not recognize his name, but you should vaguely recollect his face.  He was in the Harry Potter flicks.  Rachel McAdams plays Mary and Tom Hollander is Tim’s roommate, the ferocious playwright Harry. 

About Time

I actually think the weakest link in this film is McAdams, who is sweet but somewhat empty.  She just seems to be affable all the time and little bit too easy going.  In fact, her character really does not have much depth to it at all.  And that’s reflective of the larger issue with the characters here.  I believe that Tim’s and Tim’s father’s characters are adequately explored, but everyone else seems like a somewhat void shell.  Even Tim’s mother is peripheral and it’s difficult to make sense of the character of Harry.  Funny as he is, I cannot tell if he’s truly an awful person or if he does have some deeper redeeming qualities. 

Aside from the flaws with the characters, I think my only other complaint is the length of the film.  Actually, it’s not even that the movie is too long—two hours is not too bad.  It’s that there’s a distinct lull in the storyline toward the middle of the film makes things a little…well…boring.  I think that could have been improved by further developing the characters so that they were more engaging and interesting to watch.

About Time brings a novel concept to the screen and it’s fun to consider of the notions at play.  The film is also well shot with beautiful cinematography and visual effects.  The movie has heart, and I found its final act to be touching.  I appreciated the thoughtfulness that came across the screen.  I’m willing to overlook many of the movie’s flaws because it does have redeeming value.  Overall, it’s worth a watch, although it’s not a classic.

Thumbs half up.

 

What he said:

He
About Time

Imagine that you just turned 21 and your father says he wants to have a word with you. Here in the states, you’d expect him to pour you a beer, but since they start drinking in in Britain about the same time they learn to walk, turning 21 is no big deal over there. What Tim’s father wants to tell him is an old family secret. Apparently, all of the mean on his father’s side of the family have the ability to travel back in time. Tim, of course, thinks his father is insane, but he will soon discover he’s telling the truth.
Tim (Domhall Gleeson) decides to use this ability to better mold his love life. I don’t think it’s ever outright stated, but appears that Tim has no luck with the ladies. The first object of his affection is a stunner named Charlotte (Margot Robbie). She is the sister of his sister’s boyfriend and she is staying with his family for the summer.

His parents’ house is absolutely awesome by the way. It’s right off the beach and they spend their days playing tennis, reading while taking in the scenery, and having tea and biscuits on the beach. Tim is there one last summer before he moves into the city and begins his post-college life.

Speaking of that, Tim scores a room with some guy named Harry, who is an acquaintance of his father. Harry (Tom Hollander) is a struggling playwright, arguably insane, and absolutely hilarious. Tom Hollander was really funny in this small but amusing role. Harry is the kind of guy who isn’t particularly pleasant, but for some reason people always include him in their social activities.

While in the city, Tim meets an American gal named Mary (Rachel McAdams) while out with his buddy Jay. The two hit it off, but nothing is perfect, so whenever something goes awry Tim uses his unique ability to correct the situation.
Traveling back in time and changing history has consequences though. Tim learns this as he attempts to perfect his relationship with Mary. He learns it even more when he attempts to help his sister Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson). Kit Kat is the loveable screw up of the family. She has a great relationship with her brother, is a very easygoing and carefree person, but makes some questionable decisions at times. Tim does his best to help her, but messing with the past has effects on his relationship with Mary. Tim must deal with the consequences of his ability, try to make things work with Mary, while simultaneously help his sister get on the right path.

About Time

I don’t know if you noticed, but I didn’t talk a whole lot about Tim and Mary’s relationship. The marketing for this movie made this look like a very standard and cliché chick flick. And while their relationship was an important part of the plot, it wasn’t the only part of the plot, or even necessarily the most important part. In addition to their relationship, this movie is about Tim’s relationship with his family – his father and sister in particular – and having to cope with his exceptional power. This movie wasn’t a chick flick at all. It was more of a comedy/drama than romantic comedy. The trailer for the movie was completely misleading. I’m glad that was the case though, I wasn’t in the mood for something predictable and cliché-ridden. Watching Tim and Mary grow as a couple wasn’t nauseating at all. It wasn’t over-the-top, in your face, or sickeningly sappy. So fellas, if your lady asks you to watch this one, it’s a lot more tolerable than your standard rom-com. The stuff between him and his sister and father was great too. It was refreshing to see a family so close, even if fictional. The actors playing his sister and father were great too. The relationship Tim had with them came off as really genuine, in part, thanks to their performance. I found his sister to be a very loveable loser and his father to be a very quirky yet charming guy. The lead was solid too. I agree with the She that McAdams character had very little depth, but I find her to be absolutely adorable and the fact that the movie didn’t focus on them in a way that made you want to throw up to be a welcome change. She was meant to be a bit of a background character in my opinion.

Rating: A surprising thumbs up. I was expecting a sap-fest, but was entertained.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on February 15, 2014.

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