“About Time” for a feel-good romance


Courtesy of Amazon.com

Allie Nichols, Layout/Design Manager

About Time, written and directed by Richard Curtis, is a 2013 romance/fantasy/comedy starring Domhnall Gleeson as protagonist Tim Lake and Rachel McAdams as Tim’s forever girl. More than just satisfy the romantics of the world, About Time provides all viewers with a new way to look at and travel through life. It’s a calm, feel-good movie for those who wish to step away from reality and hope for the future. Spoilers will come.

The movie begins with Tim’s narration describing his “fairly odd family.” The screen shows the various family members within their own self and then together and, finally, at the “dreaded” New Year’s party. Post party, Tim’s father delivers some news: the men in their family can travel in time, well, back in time “after a bit of a stumble and a rumble and a tumble.” Naturally, Tim doesn’t believe his old man, but nonetheless, goes into a dark place (his closet), clutches his fists, and thinks of the desired time, per instruction. To his surprise, he finds himself back at the party.

The film moves along to summertime when the “love of [his] life” comes. However, no matter how many scenarios he runs, “even with all the time travel in the world, you simply cannot make someone fall in love.” Then, comes a “dodgy night with a dodgy Jay,” Tim’s hometown friend. They go to a restaurant where they eat in complete dark. Tim spends hours connecting with a lady he’s seated by, an unrepeatable experience. She says her name is Mary. At the end, Tim and Jay wait outside. Mary walks out, and Tim has the same expression Noah Calhoun has when looking at Allie Hamilton. This is their first visible “meet-cute.”

The screen shows day after day of Tim and Mary just being an ordinary, happy couple. One day, Tim goes to the theatre where he runs into his once love. After seeing her, Tim has a realization and kneels beside Mary when he gets home and pops the question. She says yes. At their daughter’s first birthday, Tim finds out his sister has gotten into a terrible accident. Naturally, he goes back to before she met the reason for her accident, her boyfriend. One can assume Tim kept everything else the same because when they jump to the present, he’s still married to Mary, but he has a son. 

Tim’s father clarifies, “[That] exact moment got you this particular baby, so if you do anything the tiniest bit different, you’ll have a different child.” He had a decision to make: his sister or his daughter? Back in the hospital, Tim has a tough conversation with his sister. He receives more news: his father has cancer. Tim’s father explains he explicitly never said they could fix things, but he offers some advice, “the big secret” to time travel. It’s a two step plan. First, live everyday normally. The screen displays an average day with missteps and boredom. Then the next step, live the day almost the same but noticing the sweetness of life. We see the same day, but now Tim stops to admire the beauty of things that could be passed by as average or givens. 

However, there are some days one wouldn’t want to repeat. Tim arrives at his father’s funeral, but he knows he can go back anytime he wants until Mary asks, “What do you think of the children? Not many of them are there?” Tim has to make another difficult decision, and saying “yes” to a future child meant saying “goodbye” to his dad forever. The screen shows Tim in a dark place and then a bitter sweet table tennis match between him and his father. The movie closes with Tim going through his final lesson. He doesn’t go back anymore. He just lives every day as if he deliberately went back to that specific day just to enjoy it as if it was the final one. 

This movie portrays the realities of the messy life people live but brings an upside, a wholesomeness, to every downfall. While no one can visit loved ones from the past, we can appreciate their memory and live to see their legacies. This film asks watchers to have one more table tennis match or walk on the beach or long conversation with those you cherish but know life must go on and the only thing we can do is enjoy the moments before time passes us all by.