It’s About Time Richard Curtis, the genius behind such brilliant films as Love Actually, Nottinghill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, came out with a new film. And yes, he finally has!
When I was first invited to a screening and press junket for About Time, starring Rachel McAdams & Domnhall Gleeson, I thought for sure it was going to be a good ol’ fashioned chick flick and I thought to myself, “Sure! I could use a good chick flick in my life right now (as if I didn’t cry enough over the Cory Monteith GLEE tribute?!).” However, within the first few minutes of the film, I could tell that About Time was going to be so much more than a formulaic, tear-jerking love story. Though it is a love story, and definitely tear-jerking, About Time also has humor, clever characters, luscious British accents, an indelible message, and, how could I forget, TIME TRAVEL!?
As soon as I left the theater I wanted to go back in time and watch it again.
So many things came together to make this potentially cheesy film into a classic story that will resonate deeply with audiences everywhere.
HERE ARE THE TOP 5 REASONS YOU WILL LOVE THIS FILM:
THE CAST: Two words for this cast: Spot. On. Domhnall Gleeson, who is most recognizable (at least in the US) for his role of Bill Weasley in the final two Harry Potter movies, plays a perfect leading man in the way that he is both unassuming and completely captivating. He is daft yet dapper and you will root for him from the very beginning. Rachel McAdams is lovely and endearing as the love interest and Bill Nighy is witty, believable and magnificent in his portrayal of the time-traveling dad. All of the supporting cast is superb as well.
THE WRITING: The far-fetched, fantastical premise of time-travel becomes believable thanks to the clever writing and the unassuming, relatable ways in which the characters handle each situation. The situations range from insignificant, like tripping over a pair of shoes, to life altering, like a tragic car accident, and you can place yourself, in some way, into each situation.
THE MUSIC: Music is everything in a film and when I learned that Richard Curtis picks a lot of his music out ahead of time, before even working with the actors, a lot of his movie-making-magic became clear. In our press junket he told a story that when they were filming a pivotal part of the film, he played a particular song in his headset, as he watched the action in the monitor, so he could make sure the action fit with the music. As soon as he said that, I realized that his affinity and appreciation of music could be one of his greatest assets as a filmmaker.
The About Time soundtrack was in my swag bag and I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, particularly while writing this post. It definitely has the ability to transport me back to the film and feel those same emotions all over again (read: it makes me weep just like I did in the movie).
THE EVERYDAYNESS OF IT ALL: I asked Richard Curtis in the press junket if he has a secret to making films that were so relatable and had that special combination of humor and emotion, he said, “I think you always have to trust your instincts and write about things that interest you and hope that that’ll be just like we hoped and it’d be funny. You have to hope the serious stuff will be moving.”
He didn’t listen to what other people TOLD him would be funny, he just tried to capture the essence of human relationships, the small, microscopic bits of life that feel enormous in the moment, and he did. And when he’d laugh out loud at his own work, he had to trust that others would do the same.
THE MESSAGE: “Cherish the small moments as if they are most important.” This film makes us take stock in our own lives, in our relationships, and even in the smallest, most-seemingly-insignificant moments. It made me think, would I travel back in time to a particular time in my life? Would I change anything? How can I live each day so that I appreciate it as fully as possible?
When Richard Curtis was asked if he would go back in time, he replied, “Having lost members of my family and things, I think I’d go back to any Christmas Day 20 years ago,” at which point I had to roll my eyeballs back into my head in order to stop the tears.
I really didn’t want to cry in the middle of a press junket, but his words struck such a chord with me. I could immediately imagine Christmas mornings in my home, 20 years ago, my mom cutting the donuts into fourths so we could try every flavor and my dad insisting that we take turns opening presents, even if it took us three hours to get through the unwrapping.
As you can probably tell, I loved this film and I highly recommend it. You will inevitably walk away from it thinking about your own childhood (and your own children if you have them), with wonder, and yearning, and hopefully joy.
In case you’ve missed the commercials, here is the official About Time trailer:
About Time is in select theaters starting today, November 1st. Everywhere November 8th.
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