Looking Back: About Time (2013)

Good Housekeeping recently published a list of its favourite feel-good movies and coming in at the top was the 2013 film, ABOUT TIME. I never saw the movie when it came to Hong Kong’s cinemas (I was more than a little busy at the time getting my film festival ready and that year’s event was an extraordinarily complex one) so I thought I’d take a look at it now that I’ve got a bit of time on my hands and can use a dose of feel-goodness.

Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson, the STAR WARS franchise; AMERICAN MADE; GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN; MOTHER!; BROOKLYN; EX MACHINA) lives an idyllic existence with his parents (played by Bill Nighy (THEIR FINEST) and Lindsay Duncan (BIRDMAN)) and younger sister, Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson, STAR TREK BEYOND), in incredibly picturesque Cornwall. On his 21st birthday, his father reveals a family secret to him: All the men in the Lake family have the ability to travel in time. After learning how to do it, Tim tests his newfound ability out on Kit Kat’s best friend, the unreachable blonde goddess Charlotte (Margot Robbie, BIRDS OF PREY; BOMBSHELL; ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD; MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS; GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN; I, TONYA; THE LEGEND OF TARZAN; THE BIG SHORT). But things don’t go quite the way Tim expects with Charlotte and he heads off to London to begin his career as a lawyer where he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams, GAME NIGHT; SPOTLIGHT), a reader for a publisher. Although Tim continues to use his power to perfect his life, he soon realises that there are some things he just can’t or shouldn’t change.

Yes, ABOUT TIME is a feel good movie but it’s not overly sentimental at all. Writer-director Richard Curtis (YESTERDAY; MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN; LOVE ACTUALLY; NOTTING HILL) created a delightfully sweet and intelligent story about having second and third chances, and although we don’t often get it right the first time, we shouldn’t try. I concede that the story has one major plot hole and the soundtrack is a little too on-the-nose for my taste but it’s the type of film that Richard Curtis and the Brits do so well. The performances are all sterling and it makes me wonder how especially Nighy wasn’t even nominated for a BAFTA that year. (I looked it up and the nominees that year were Daniel Bruel (RUSH), Bradley Cooper (AMERICAN HUSTLE), Matt Damon (BEHIND THE CANDELABRA), Michael Fassbender (12 YEARS A SLAVE) and the winner, Barkhad Abdi (CAPTAIN PHILLIPS). Really???)

In pre-coronavirus times, ABOUT TIME would be a perfect date night movie. Now it’s great film if you’re looking for a healthy dose of feel-goodness while you’re at home sitting on the sofa. Keep your eyes out for Vanessa Kirby (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT; TV’s THE CROWN) who plays Mary’s best friend, Joanna, and Harry Hadden-Paton (TV’s THE CROWN and DOWNTON ABBEY), who plays Mary’s short-lived love interest, Rupert.

Watch the review recorded on Facebook Live on Friday, May 8th, 8:30 am HK time!

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