“Some days you wanna live forever.”
In my circle of friends, the genre of romance immediately associated with any adaptation of Nicholas Sparks novels and anything with Katherine Heigl in it. I associate the romance genre directly to romantic comedies, with Audrey Hepburn, Hugh Grant, and Richard Curtis‘ British romcoms. So naturally, I was utterly excited to see About Time, Curtis’ third project as a director, released a decade after his debut with Love, Actually in 2003 (discounting his sophomore project, The Boat That Rocked)
The premise of About Time definitely raised my eyebrow. Time travel. So our hero of the film, the too tall, too thin, too orange (in his own words), Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) just turned 21. His dad (Bill Nighy) let him in on a secret: the men in their family can travel through times. How? Simply go to the nearest, most convenient enclosed space (a toilet, a wardrobe, a cupboard under the stairs―can’t resist the Harry Potter reference!―), close your eyes, clenched your fists, and think of the time you’d like to go back to (‘You can’t kill hitler or shag Helen of Troy’, the dad mused). And like all time-travel fictions it came with its own sets of rule that you must not break. When his father ask him what he’s going to do with his gift, young Tim responded ‘for me, it’s always been about love’.
At that point i was a bit worried, that it was going to go to a predictable rom-com formula, guy chase girl, problem arise that torn them apart, before finally they reunite at the end and drive off to their happily-ever-after sunset. This is why About Time surprised me. Yes it follow similar rom-com blueprint but somewhere along the way it does not stop at that and give me something more, namely the father and son bond and the ultimate carpe diem message. There’s a poignant message of death and loss embedded in the film, a point that was delivered without sacrificing the lightness of the film and making it bleak. In retrospect the whole film felt a bit disjointed though. Weirdly it worked in a Curtis fashion, made me delirious and enchanted during its 2 hour run. Just don’t over analyze it and you’ll be just fine.
Charming seemed to be one of the key words i use to describe anything about this movie. From the charmingly gawkish Gleeson as the male lead (refreshingly different archetype of male representative in romcom, who is not traditionally handsome too, if you asked me), the charmingly cute Rachel McAdams as the love interest, the charming fashion of Bill Nighy, the charmingly disgruntled uncle, the charmingly air-headed little sister that give squeezing bear hugs, The Lake’s charming seaside dwellings, the charmingly gleeful wedding despite the not so charming disastrous weather, and even the charmingly odd song Il Mundo as their nuptials soundtrack (which become synonymous with the film and just keep playing in my head). I think i watched the entire film with a huge glee on my face just because it gave all these fuzzy warm feelings that i throughly enjoy. You just can feel that Curtis’ quirks and odd charms all over.
So what do i think about the film? I am absolutely smitten. I think Curtis worked the Time Travel gimmick that usually more suited to scifi genre and flawlessly embedding it to his story without making it as a main hook of the film. I love that this is, once again romance from male pov rather than female (and whether or not it is a fair representation is not to be discussed). It really still a heartwarming story of love and loving life. Just like Barbara Sugarman in Don Jon i can’t help but to love romcom after all… J’adore!
ABOUT TIME (2013)
GENRE Romance, Comedy
DIRECTOR Richard Curtis | PRODUCER Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Nicky Kentish Barnes | WRITER Richard Curtis | MUSIC Nick Laird-Clowes | CINEMATOGRAPHER John Guleserian | EDITOR Mark Day | STUDIO Working Title Films, Relativity Media | DISTRIBUTOR Universal Pictures | COUNTRY United Kingdom | RUNNING TIME 123 minutes | BUDGET $12 Million | RATING R for sexual content and some language | RELEASE September 4, 2013
STARRING Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie, Lydia Wilson