Review: About Time

Published 30 August 2013

Time. It's something we have to live in and with, so often with the feeling that we don't have enough of it or we would do things differently if it were something we could turn back. Richard Curtis's new film may have an unlikely time-travel plot but it does allow the idea of a second chance to be explored with humour and poignancy.

Domhnall Gleeson stars as Tim, who learns from his dad at the age of 21 that all the men in his family have had the remarkable gift of being able to travel back in time. If they just go to a dark place – a closet will do – close their eyes and cast their mind back to a particular point, they will be transported there.

The time travel aspect could put people off before they've even given the film a chance, but that would be a mistake, as it provides the basis for most of the movie's great comedy moments as Tim tries to win the heart of Mary (Rachel McAdams).

The other aspect that could put people off is the rom-com label, but this is not the same light-headed drivel that so many flicks in this genre offer. About Time is a genuinely thought-provoking film as Tim comes to realise that his gift for time travel can be used to serve a greater purpose in helping those he loves most.

However, the ability to travel back in time is not without its own difficulties and there comes a point where Tim has to weigh up whether changing something in the past is worth the effect it has on the present.

One of the strongest threads in the film is Tim's relationship with his father, played by the charismatic Bill Nighy. It is in this father-son relationship that the power of turning back the clock comes into its own and Tim comes to discover that he cannot fully embrace his own future without letting go of the past.

With most time-travel films, the mind could boggle over the 'but how would that work?' questions, but that simply isn't the case here as Curtis cleverly uses it as a vehicle to tell a bigger story about the stuff of life and the people we share it with.

There will be tears but there will also be plenty of laughs and moments to smile with this charming film.

Free resources to accompany the film are available at www.damaris.org/abouttime

Watch Damaris Trust's discussion of the movie here:

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