Richard Curtis may be a cornerstone when it comes to modern romantic comedies in cinema, but he's actually only directed three movies to date. While Love, Actually has gone on to become a Christmas time staple, despite it being so sentimental that anyone watching it immediately gets diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and The Boat That Rocked ended up as nothing more than an interesting failure, he's hit the jackpot third time out. About Time is one of THE great modern rom-coms.
When he turns 21, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is informed by his dad (Bill Nighy) that the men in his family can travel in time, or more specifically, back to an earlier point in their own lives. When asked what he's going to do with this newfound power, Tim answers simply that he wants to find a girlfriend. Before long he does, in the form of Mary (Rachel McAdams), but Tim finds that the initial gift of constantly being able to re-do any given situation becomes a burden, as he is constantly attempting to better pretty much every single second of his life, and in the process he forgets how to live in the moment.
While the plot may sound like Groundhog Day meets The Time Traveller's Wife (not helped by McAdams' involvement), About Time actually delves a little further than both, exploring the wonders and joy that the thankless task of repetition plays out in our lives and our loves. But before you get concerned that it's going to get too bogged down in its own seriousness, know that the movie never bothers itself with any worries about time-travelling paradoxes or other hokum like that. For the first hour, it does nothing but cement a mile-wide grin on your face, and is quite often painfully laugh out loud funny. Then when the film progresses, (and life moves on and the idea that time is limited, no matter how many times you relive it) About Time slowly, quietly begins to pull at the heartstrings until you're a balling, sobbing, yet oddly still optimistic mess by the closing credits.
Thanks to Curtis' spot-on screenplay and direction, the leading trio's pitch-perfect performances, and a cavalcade of deliriously entertaining supporting characters, About Time deserves to be seen over and over and over again.