January comes right after Christmas, finding everyone too weary for yet another night out. Moreover, when it is cold and stormy you’d much rather curl up on the sofa with a steaming mug of drinking chocolate than venture outside. So, what better way to spend your weekends than to rent a few DVDs and cuddle up? My suggestion today is About Time (2013), a Richard Curtis film (Notting Hill; Love Actually) that should appeal to all.
Not just another romantic comedy, it has a plot that exceeds all others of its genre in brilliance. For this time round, it is not just about the girl. Curtis combines his wit and humour with an interesting ‘what if?’ scenario and the bigger theme of gratitude.
Starting off in Cornwall then moving to London, the plot has Tim’s dad (played by Bill Nighy) revealing to his son a family secret. Tim wastes no time in making use of the knowledge, rushing for the secret time-machine time and again, so that scenes are relived over and over in different ways, sometimes with the most unexpected results!
Like Curtis’ previous scripts, the storyline features Tim’s difficulty with engaging girls which, being a comedy, will still have Tim married at the end, right? Only, the wedding here happens nearing the middle of the two-hour film! Rightly so too, because through love other things are to follow. Isn’t that the way it is in life after all?
It is the romantic love that takes centre stage in the first part of the film, with its most delightful scene taking place at Maida Vale Station (London) where, to the tune of How Long Will I Love You, Tim and Mary’s blooming relationship is featured through the passing months (this reminding me very much of the Seasons Sequence in Curtis’ earlier work Notting Hill). The second part focuses on family in a way that presents life as it is, with its ups and downs and problems we can all relate to in some way.
Whilst I cringed at the characters’ lines at times for being so ‘Curtis’ and used already in earlier films, I applaud this masterpiece both with respect to the writing and direction. Add to that the fact that the cast is exceptional, most especially Rachel McAdams who goes back to being the soft sweet girl from her The Notebook days.
It takes experience to provide a project that has the audience attentive for the whole duration but this one succeeds. It is a seamlessly made film that transitions through long years in the characters’ lives and in between Curtis and the cast, they have provided just that superb mix of ingredients that make this a film that will be remembered for quite a while.