At the age of 21, unlucky-in-love Tim is told by his father that the men in his family can travel backwards in time to any event that they have been to before. When he moves to London to become a lawyer, he meets Mary, the woman of his dreams. As he lives his life, he discovers that his powers of time travel don’t have to just make his own life better but can be used to help those around him.
About Time (2013) – Director: Richard Curtis
Running Length: 123 mins
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Although time travel is a central theme of ‘About Time’, this charming movie is more about the pleasant life of Tim, a nice guy who just wants a girlfriend, than it is about science fiction. His powers of time travel hardly change the world but make some of the little imperfections in his life disappear and, as he remembers them, he can learn from his mistakes. As with most time travel movies, there are a few plot holes and leaps of logic but these are minor complaints for an otherwise entertaining story.
It is no surprised that ‘About Time’ was both written and directed by Richard Curtis, the man behind ‘Love Actually’ and ‘Notting Hill’ as this movie’s twee, rose-tinted view of English life is somewhat unrealistic. However its charm and wit throughout make it a compelling watch. There are few conflicts and virtually every action that Tim makes is done with the best intentions. The acting is great although the character of Katherine, or ‘Kit Kat’ (played by Lydia Wilson) is confusing as she is described as a ‘free spirit’ but her behaviour goes beyond eccentricity to the point of mental instability.
While ‘About Time’ isn’t the most exciting of the ‘romantic comedy’ genre, it is good-natured and full of witty comedy that evokes plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. It doesn’t break any new ground or have brand new ideas but what it does is provide enjoyable entertainment for adults who like a light-hearted and funny film.
IS ‘ABOUT TIME’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
Perhaps the biggest issue that parents will have with this movie is the frequent moderate and strong cursing throughout; there is also strong language of a sexual nature, often for comedic moments which could in turn encourage children to repeat them. A minor character is repeatedly likened to a ‘prostitute’ and there are also comedy references to brothels.
After their first date, Tim walks Mary back to her home where they have sex. Disappointed with his performance, Tim uses his time travel abilities and repeatedly goes back to improve. Only the beginning (passionate kissing and removing clothes) and the end (lying naked in bed in increasingly over-the-top positions) of the physical intimacy is shown and while the visuals aren’t too graphic, the dialogue and implications are quite gratuitous. While many adult relationships do become physical quickly, parents may not be too happy that an immediate physical relationship is not only seen as normal but actually expected from both parties, especially for impressionable teens.
A female character asks her partner to help her make some important decisions, in order to get him on board, she tells him that each decision they make will result in her removing an item of clothing. She eventually removes her bra and covers her breasts with her hands.
A character that has a drinking problem has a car accident while driving drunk and they end up in hospital. Very little criticism is made towards this person; everyone around them is supportive and only has sympathy for them. This character is repeatedly felt sorry for, is not expected to take responsibility for their actions and no-one around them disapproves of their drink driving which isn’t a great message for kids.
It is discovered that an established character is very ill which causes heartache for their loved ones. One character spends time with them, knowing that it is unlikely that they will see them again; this is very emotional but as the ill character has accepted their fate, the emotion is mostly positive and more poignant than distressing.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
‘About Time’ is a twee, chocolate-box view of relationships but with lots of good-natured humour, it’s fun and light-hearted nature is both appealing and enjoyable. With a lot of bad language and sexual content, we feel this movie is inappropriate for kids aged under 12 and recommend adult supervision for impressionable youngsters.
- Violence: 1/5 (a character bandages a cut finger and some blood is seen)
- Emotional Distress: 4/5
- Fear Factor: 0/5
- Sexual Content: 5/5 (adult physical relationships and expectations of sex in the early stages of dating. A graphic poster of a topless woman is seen in the background of a scene)
- Bad Language: 5/5 (frequent moderate and strong cursing and blasphemy, one character holds up their middle finger to another as an endearing insult to a loved one)
- Dialogue: 5/5 (moderate to strong sexual references throughout)
- Other notes: Deals with themes of relationships, accepting that not everything in life can or should be changed, loving someone for their personality, accepting different personalities and cherishing the time that one has with loved ones.
Words by Laura Record