Directed by Richard Curtis
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy
★★★ (out of five)
IT was with some surprise when Domhnall Gleeson’s name was first linked to About Time, Richard Curtis’ third feature as both writer and director.
Not only was a relatively unknown actor heading up, potentially, the biggest British film of the year, but just what was an actor known for his canny, off-beat choices doing mixing it up with such a safe filmmaker as the man behind Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings & a Funeral?
That answer is undoubtedly tied to the huge boost in profile About Time will afford Gleeson. Here, he plays Tim, who, like all male members of his family, has the ability to time travel by popping into a cupboard, imagining a time and place in your past, and bingo.
But forget solving crimes or doing the lotto, all Tim wants is a girlfriend and to woo Mary (Rachel McAdams — in her third time-travel related role).
So follows the film’s central plot in which Tim engineers their romance by going back and forward and erasing his inevitable gaffes.
However, it’s away from this storyline, and onto that involving Tim’s relationship with his father (Bill Nighy) that most charms as Curtis’ movie becomes more a film about fathers and sons.
For better or worse all the Curtis hallmarks are here of course — London property porn, posh English families, a scatty sister and a cast of supporting eccentrics.
It means that, on occasion, About Time feels like a mash-up of Curtis ‘best bits’. There’s no doubt that he’s stuck to his formula, but it’s a formula that works.
About Time is a pleasing two-hours in the cinema. Sure it’s riddled with plot holes but, like all of Curtis’ work, there’s enough charm here to forgive its flaws.
Gleeson excels in the ‘Hugh Grant role’, and is warm, charming and likeable. An Irishman with a big career ahead of him, he delivers his comedic moments with impeccable timing and his scenes with Nighy are to be particularly treasured.
Not a movie you’re likely to turn back to, or to leave a lasting impression, but perfect for passing the time.