I’ve mentioned in probably far too many of my posts that my all time favourite film is About Time. However, I don’t think I’ve ever really explained why. Here goes!
At first glance, About Time is your stereotypical romcom (believe me, I love a stereotypically cheesy and mushy rom-com, however…). The title image is of the 2 main protagonists on their wedding day and the description describes how Tim (Domnhall Gleeson) wins Mary’s (Rachel McAdams) heart using time travel. It makes it appear as if that love story is all that the film has to offer, when, in fact, it probably just takes up about half of the story. “I’m sorry, WHAT?” do I hear you say? Yes, this is a romcom where half the story isn’t even romance related. (I say half I have no idea in reality but let’s just pretend I know exactly what I’m talking about here.)
*SPOILER ALERT* here as I am going to give away key details about the plot in order to explain myself properly.
To me, this film is about family. How the people you love romantically become your family if feelings are reciprocated, no matter how weird your family is you still love them anyway, having to see people you love suffer because you know that’s the only way for it to get better. There are so many ideas linked with this theme that are demonstrated in the film.
KitKat (Lydia Wilson) is an example of this. She’s generally a bit lost; she keeps losing jobs, can’t really maintain independence and has a very on-off and unhealthy relationship with the handsome Jimmy (Tom Hughes), who she is seen to meet at the start of the film. Jimmy is very attractive to her and, although he seems exciting and interesting to her, is very damaging to her life from the moment they meet at the New Year’s party when I think she might be in her late teens (I don’t know exactly but her older brother Tim is 21 then so that would make sense).
After spending years with Jimmy, KitKat eventually has a car accident on the way to her niece’s 1st birthday party, having argued with Jimmy and driven while drunk. This obviously terrifies Tim, as he’s nearly lost his little sister who he is shown to love immensely, so he decides to tell her about his ability to time travel and bring her back to the party where she met Jimmy and change that so she never meets him. However, when they return to the present, Tim finds that his daughter, Rosie, is now a completely different baby (a son) as the timeline changed. Wanting his child back, he reverses his actions and helps KitKat through the long way round. This way is better, I think, even though it may not feel like it at the time. Everyone learns a lot more from this: KitKat still has all her experiences with Jimmy and her many jobs but is seen to reach the same happy ending she would have reached anyway. I think here, it’s clearly shown that the long way round has to be taken sometimes. The easy way isn’t always the best way.
One of my favourite characters in this film is Harry, played by Tom Hollander. From his first appearance, he is shown to be self-centred, bitter and irritable. However, by the end of the film we see that he did love the friend he told Tim he “always thought was a bit weird.” No matter how cold and abrasive he presents himself, there are real feelings hidden under there. Harry’s great. I find him hilarious and love his sarcasm.
The relationship I think I love most in this film is that of Tim and his father (Bill Nighy). They’re portrayed as being close throughout and they’re the only two who can time travel and know about each other’s abilities. (Bill Nighy also has some of the best lines of the film can I just add that in there, okay, thanks.) So, when Tim’s mother calls up one night to tell him that his dad has cancer and it’s worsening, the whole family are devastated, which is completely realistic. Once his father does pass away, Tim is the only one who can still see him and talk to him due to time travel. While the others are forced to move on and get on with their lives despite their grief, Tim continues to see his father while he is grieving his loss, until Mary becomes pregnant for the 3rd time and Tim knows that the time left with his father is limited as he cannot visit him in the past once the child is born. He now has to grieve the same way the others do and learn to let go.
One night, late in Mary’s pregnancy, Tim visits his father for the last time. They play a lighthearted game of table tennis as usual, but there is still a melancholic feel to it. Together, they decide to travel back to when Tim was a young boy to play on the beach and skim stones, making sure to change nothing so their lives wouldn’t alter as a result.
Personally, I love the final scene of the film. It’s kind of like the Heathrow Arrivals Gate scene at the end of Love Actually to me. It’s things like that that make my heart go mushy.
There are so many more things I love about this film and I could talk about it for weeks probably. A Richard Curtis script and direction, with some of my favourite actors and a soundtrack I completely adore and could listen to forevermore. I’d love to know what you think about About Time and whether it’s just me who loves it this much!
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