If you had the power to travel back to any point in your life which one would you chose for a repeat experience? That is one of the central themes of Richard Curtis’s new comedy drama.
I wouldn’t mind returning to when I saw Curtis’s Love Actually and recoup the two hours-plus I wasted watching that saccharine and romantic drivel.
Fortunately, About Time isn’t as schmaltzy. Still filled with emotionally repressed upper-class characters who live in Curtis’s cinematic version of Britain it is nevertheless a bitter-sweet comedy about love and time travel.
Domhnall Gleeson plays Tim who learns at 21 that, like every man in his family, he can travel back in time but with certain provisos. He can’t change history and he can only go back to an exact moment that he can remember.
So he relives key events Groundhog Day-style until he gets them right. In the case of his first sexual encounter with his wife (Rachel McAdams), that proves painfully funny.
Why it is only the men that can time travel is never explained while the theoretical underpinning itself has serious flaws.
But these can be forgiven due to Gleeson’s engaging performances as the sweet but hapless geek and the great Bill Nighy, captivating as his eccentric father.
As Richard Curtis films go this is a charming and surprisingly thought-provoking one, despite the fact that its “message” — make the most of life — isn’t exactly revolutionary.