Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) can travel in time and his wife Mary (Rachel McAdams) doesn’t know.

Reel Reviews: Sexes are divided on About Time

About Time is charming, sweet and touching, but could it have been more imaginative?

  • Nov. 22, 2013 8:00 a.m.

When Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) turns 21 he is told an amazing secret by his dad (Bill Nighy): All the men in their family can travel into the past and change their present by simply thinking about a particular memory from their lives.

Tim decides to use his power to find a girlfriend, succeeding with Mary (Rachel McAdams). They build a normal, wonderful life together. Tim occasionally uses his power to change certain things in his life and the lives of others, with mixed results.

We ask: “It’s charming, sweet and touching, but could it have been more imaginative?”

HOWE: I was really looking forward to About Time. Not just because it’s another British movie, as we all know how fantastic they are at film making, but more due to the writer of the story, Richard Curtis. He’s given us hit after hit with classics like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually.

TAYLOR: I haven’t seen any of those movies, but I didn’t mind About Time. Gleeson and McAdams are cute and charming. The life our two main characters build together is idyllic, perhaps even in its suffering, but not unbelievable, other than the time travel. About Time certainly doesn’t answer any of the truly interesting questions raised by the time travel story device, but I don’t think it’s supposed to. This is cotton candy, it’s fun to eat but it’s hardly substantive. It made me smile. I laughed once. I heard a woman in the audience sniffing, open her purse for a tissue, and laugh at herself for crying.

HOWE: I just felt this time out the format fell a little flat. The film had too much of the same old story from the Curtis checklist: #1 Boy always chases girl, never the other way around. #2 It’s always a posh sounding boy, who in reality is a little thick. #3 At least one member of the family is crazy. #4 A fantastic soundtrack.

MICHELLE:  Excuse me boys, as Peter’s wife, I thought I’d better interrupt. This movie reminded me of The Butterfly Effect, without the “How the heck did he manage to mess that up?” It has all the English charm and proper pacing, so that one does not feel like they are constantly being slapped upside the head. Curtis lulls viewers into his movies through a thoughtful, surprising and funny script that contains extremely romantic subtle gestures.

I appreciated being able to relax and enjoy an engaging story rather than feeling stressed out because a movie like this could have been over-the-top ridiculous. (Sticks tongue out at Peter.)

TAYLOR: About Time is a romantic comedy with a touch of poignant realism that grounds it effectively enough to allow you to appreciate the fantasy. There are valuable lessons about living a more consciously appreciated life, which can’t hurt. The seriousness of it removes it from merely being another Groundhog Day. It’s an excellent date movie.

– Howe gives About Time 3 Pandas out of 5.

– Michelle gives it 4 clenched fists out of 5.

– Taylor gives it 3.5 fingers out of 5.

The feature is currently playing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are movie reviewers based in Vernon, B.C.

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