CINEMA with SARAH O'CONNOR: Curtis back on top form
ABOUT TIME (12a)
AFTER making three of the most successful British films of all time (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually), Richard Curtis is back on top form with this absolutely delightful romantic comedy.
And those of you who know and appreciate Curtis' work will not be surprised to learn the plot is the same bog standard one he always uses — middle class English boy meets beautiful American woman and falls in love. Only this time there is a twist — well actually there are two.
Thrown into the mix is the extra dimension of time travel and all the wonderful possibilities which arise from using it as a method to further the plot. And also, approaching the plot from a different angle, less important is the guy meets girl scenario. The main relationship study in this movie is the one of father and son, and it's beautifully drawn, heart- warming/heart-breaking and will require an endless supply of tissues.
Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) has turned 21 and receives the unexpected and mind blowing news from his father (Bill Nighy) that all the men in the family have the ability to travel through time.
Apparently all Tim has to do to achieve this feat is stand in a dark place (the wardrobe works well), clench his fists, imagine the time and place he wants to end up in, and hey presto!
Tim, being the typical awkward, few social skills guy who he is, decides to use this extraordinary power to find himself a girlfriend and to refine the relationship to its perfect state by doing over and over again all the things which go wrong on the first attempt.
When he meets the woman of his dreams (Rachel McAdams), love hits them both instantly, but time travel can be a tricky business and Tim has to learn how to use it to win his true love.
So the scene is set for some great comedy moments, an intricate plot, and a will he/won't he get his girl situation. What raises this film above those levels though, is the human aspect and the lessons learned along the way. Nighy and Gleeson have extraordinary chemistry which make the relationship between father and son an intricate part of this film's success. And as Tim jumps back and forth through time, trying to make his life perfect, he learns a profound lesson which is integral to happiness — living in the moment and making the most of the here and now, dealing with your mistakes and growing from them, rather than never having experienced them in the first place, is a far better way to live your life.
Gleeson, who played Bill Weasley in the final Harry Potter films, is not your typical romantic lead. He is tall and gangly and red-haired but he stamps his authority on this film in a way which shows he is here to stay.
This is the kind of film which will catapult him to leading man roles and I doubt he will ever look back. Rachel McAdams, yet again, plays a time traveller's wife and is perfectly cast, a feat which Richard Curtis achieves in all of his films and is one of the reasons why they work so well.
Is it Curtis' best film? No, because it's not as original as Notting Hill, nor is it as funny or intricate as Love Actually.
This one is slightly too long and might be just a little too soft for those who like their films with a little more action. But it is a fine film and personally, I'd rather watch this than Four Weddings. About Time is funny, warm, has immensely likeable characters and also has an important message thrown in to the mix. And if, like me, you don't feel you've had your money's worth unless you laugh, cry and learn something within the running time of a movie, then you will not be disappointed with this one.