About Time (2013 film)

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About Time
A girl in a red dress, laughing in the rain, alongside a tall red-haired man wearing a suit.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRichard Curtis
Produced by
Written byRichard Curtis
Starring
Music byNick Laird-Clowes
CinematographyJohn Guleserian
Edited byMark Day
Production
  companies
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date(s)
  • 27 June 2013 (2013-06-27) (EIFF)
  • 4 September 2013 (2013-09-04) (United Kingdom)
  • 3 November 2013 (2013-11-03) (United States)
Running time123 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[2]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$12 million[3]
Box office$87.1 million[3][4]
 
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About Time
A girl in a red dress, laughing in the rain, alongside a tall red-haired man wearing a suit.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRichard Curtis
Produced by
Written byRichard Curtis
Starring
Music byNick Laird-Clowes
CinematographyJohn Guleserian
Edited byMark Day
Production
  companies
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date(s)
  • 27 June 2013 (2013-06-27) (EIFF)
  • 4 September 2013 (2013-09-04) (United Kingdom)
  • 3 November 2013 (2013-11-03) (United States)
Running time123 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[2]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$12 million[3]
Box office$87.1 million[3][4]

About Time is a 2013 romantic comedy-drama film about a young man with the special ability to time travel who tries to change his past in order to improve his future.[5] The film was written and directed by Richard Curtis,[6][7] and stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy. It was released in the United Kingdom on 4 September 2013 and in the United States on 1 November 2013.[8]

Plot[edit]

Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young man from Cornwall, England. He grows up in a house by the sea with his father (Bill Nighy), his mother (Lindsay Duncan), his absent-minded uncle, and his free-spirited sister, Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson). At the age of 21, Tim is told by his father that the men of his family have a special gift: the ability to travel in time. This supernatural ability is subject to one constraint - they can only travel to places and times they have been before. After his father discourages Tim to use his gift to acquire money or fame, he decides that he will use it to improve his love life.

The following summer, Kit Kat's friend Charlotte (Margot Robbie) visits to spend her vacation with Tim's family. Tim is instantly attracted to her and at the end of her stay, decides to tell her how he feels. She tells him that he should not have waited until the last day, that perhaps if he had told her earlier, something could have happened between them. Tim travels back in time and, the second time around, tells Charlotte in the middle of the vacation how he feels. In this instance, Charlotte uses the exact opposite excuse, saying that it would be better if they waited until the last day of the vacation and then something could potentially happen between them. Heartbroken, Tim realises that Charlotte is not attracted to him and that time travel will not empower him to change her mind.

After the summer, Tim moves to London to pursue a career as a lawyer. He is put up by his father's old acquaintance, Harry (Tom Hollander), a misanthropic playwright. After some months, Tim visits a Dans le Noir establishment, where he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams). The two flirt in the darkness of the restaurant and afterwards, Mary gives Tim her phone number. Tim returns home to find a distraught Harry. It turns out that the same night as he met Mary, the opening night of Harry's new play had been ruined by one of the actors forgetting his lines at a crucial point. Tim goes back in time to put things right and the play is a triumph.

Having saved Harry's opening night, Tim tries to call Mary, but discovers that her number is no longer in his cell phone. By going back in time to help Harry, Tim chose a path in which the evening with Mary never happened. He remembers her interest in Kate Moss and manages to find her at a Kate Moss exhibition. He strikes up an acquaintance with her but discovers she now has a boyfriend. Tim finds out when and where they met, turns up early and persuades her to leave the party with him before she can meet the boyfriend. Their relationship develops and Tim moves in with Mary. He encounters Charlotte again by accident and this time she makes it clear she would be ready to start a relationship. Tim turns her down, realising he really loves Mary. He proposes marriage, she accepts and is welcomed into his family. Their first child, Posy, is born. Tim's sister, Kit, has not been so lucky and her unhappy relationship, failure to find a career and drinking lead her to crash her car on the same day as Posy's first birthday.

Kit is seriously hurt but begins to make a good recovery. Tim decides to intervene in her life and does so by preventing her from meeting her boyfriend, Jimmy (Tom Hughes). When he returns to the present time, he finds Posy has never been born and that he has a son instead. His father explains that travelling back to change things before his children were born would mean those children would not be born. Thus, any events that occurred before Posy's birth cannot be changed, and Tim must accept the consequences as a normal person would. Tim accepts he cannot change Kit's life by changing her past but he and Mary help her to change her life herself. She settles down with an old friend of Tim's and has a child of her own. Tim and Mary have another child, a boy.

Tim learns that his father has terminal cancer and that time travel cannot change it. His father has known for quite some time, but kept travelling back in time to effectively extend his life and spend more time with his family. He tells Tim to live each day twice in order to be truly happy: the first time, live it as normal, experiencing each day's inherent unpredictability and stress, and the second time to appreciate its small joys and special moments without making any changes to the events that occurred (and avoiding changing any future events). Tim follows this advice and also travels back into the past to visit his father whenever he misses him.

Mary tells Tim she wants a third child. He is reluctant at first because he will not be able to visit his father after the baby is born but agrees. After visiting his father for the following nine months, Tim tells his father that he cannot visit any more. They travel back to when Tim was a small boy, reliving a fond memory of them playing on the beach. After reliving each day, Tim comes to realise that it is better to live each day once, and appreciate everything as if he is living it for a second time. The film ends with Tim leaving Mary in bed and getting his three children ready for school.

Cast[edit]

Zooey Deschanel had been in talks for the role of Mary but ultimately the role went to McAdams.[9][10]

Production[edit]

Curtis has said this is likely to be his last film as director, but that he will continue in the film industry.[11]

The film was initially scheduled to be released on 10 May 2013, release was pushed back to 1 November 2013.[8] The film premiered on 8 August 2013 as part of the Film4 Summer Screen outdoor cinema series at London's historic Somerset House.[12] It was released in the UK on 4 September 2013 and in the US in limited release on 1 November 2013 and in wide release on 8 November 2013.[13]

Reception[edit]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 69% based on reviews from 137 critics, with an average rating of 6.3/10.[14] Metacritic, which uses a weighted mean, assigned a score of 55/100, based on reviews from 34 film critics.[15] Based on responses from 78,018 users, About Time received a rating of 7.8/10 on the Internet Movie Database.[16]

Catherine Shoard of The Guardian compares the film to Groundhog Day noting it "is about as close to home as a homage can get without calling in the copyright team" and describes Domhnall Gleeson as a "ginger Hugh Grant" which "at first, is unnerving; as About Time marches on, Gleeson's innate charm gleams through and this weird disconnection becomes quite compelling." Ultimately it is not the familiarity but the "uncarbonated script" that deadens the comedy. Shoard gives the film 2 stars out of 5.[17] Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph praises the comic timing of McAdams and Gleeson, but criticises the film, comparing it to a quilt, calling it "soft, frayed at the edges, and oh so comfortable" and gives it a score of 3 stars out of 5.[18]

Leslie Felperin of Variety magazine calls the film "reassuringly bland" and says there is sense of déjà vu especially for anyone who has seen The Time Traveler's Wife also co-starring McAdams. Unlike that film she has no knowledge of his powers, resulting in a "fundamental lack of honesty in their relationship". Felperin notes British reverse snobbery would put many off this and other Curtis films but that is less of a problem among American Anglophiles and those willing to suspend disbelief, taking the characters are British "versions of Woody Allen’s Manhattanites (but with less angst)". Felperin praises the chemistry of the leading couple "that keeps the film aloft" and the supporting cast while also criticising the stock characters as being too familiar.[19]

The film became a surprise hit in South Korea, where it was watched by more than 3 million people, one of the highest numbers among the foreign romantic comedy movies released in Korea.[20] It grossed the total of $23,434,443, which is the highest figure compared to the other countries.[21]

Plot holes[edit]

Critic Mark Kermode observes that writer Curtis "sets up his rules of temporal engagement, only to break them willy-nilly whenever the prospect of an extra hug rears its head".[22]

The rules[23] as explained to Tim by his father are:

  1. Only male members of the family can travel in time.
  2. Only travel to the past is possible.
  3. It is impossible to travel back to before you were born.
  4. Traveling back to a time before your child is born will cause a different child to be born and the original child will be lost.

The film's internal logic about time travel was also criticised in other reviews:

Soundtrack[edit]

Track listing[29]
No.TitleArtistLength
1."The Luckiest" (About Time version)Ben Folds4:04
2."How Long Will I Love You"  Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney & Ben Coleman2:46
3."Mid Air"  Paul Buchanan2:28
4."At the River" (Radio Edit)Groove Armada3:10
5."Friday I'm In Love"  The Cure3:34
6."Back To Black" (Explicit)Amy Winehouse4:00
7."Gold in them Hills"  Ron Sexsmith3:31
8."The About Time Theme"  Nick Laird-Clowes2:22
9."Into My Arms"  Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds4:13
10."Il Mondo"  Jimmy Fontana2:42
11."Golborne Road"  Nick Laird-Clowes2:16
12."Push the Button"  Sugababes3:37
13."All the Things She Said" (Original Edited)t.A.T.u.3:35
14."When I Fall In Love"  Barbar Gough, Sagat Guirey, Andy Hamill & Tim Herniman3:02
15."Spiegel im Spiegel"  Arvo Pärt9:24
16."How Long Will I Love You"  Ellie Goulding2:34
17."Mr. Brightside"  The Killers3:42

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Time". British Board of Film Classification. 
  2. ^ "About Time". British Film Institute. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "About Time". The Numbers. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "About Time (2013)". Box Office Mojo. 
  5. ^ White, James. "New Pic of About Time: Richard Curts' new time-warping comedy". Empire. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Kemp, Stuart. "'War Horse' Writer Richard Curtis to Direct Time-Travel Script 'About Time' for Working Title (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Child, Ben (19 January 2012). "Richard Curtis decides it's About Time he directed a film about time travel". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Rome, Emily. "Rachel McAdams rom-com 'About Time' gets new release date". Inside Movies. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Pulver, Andrew (11 May 2012). "Rachel McAdams to star in Richard Curtis romcom About Time". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Chang, Justin (2012-03-27). "Deschanel, Gleeson on 'Time' for Working Title". Variety. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  11. ^ Ben Child. "Richard Curtis: 'About Time will probably be the last film I direct'". The Guardian. 
  12. ^ "Film4 Summer Screen: About Time Competition". Channel 4. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  13. ^ "IMDb". Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "About Time (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster/Warner Bros. 
  15. ^ "About Time". Metacritic. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Internet Movie Database. About Time (2013). IMdb.com. Retrieved Feb. 25, 2014". 
  17. ^ Catherine Shoard (August 2013). "About Time – first look review". The Guardian. 
  18. ^ Robbie Collin (8 Aug 2013). "About Time, review". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  19. ^ Leslie Felperin (8 August 2013). "Richard Curtis returns to a quintessentially English milieu with this sweet, familiar and reassuringly bland romance.". Variety. 
  20. ^ 김, 진성. "'어바웃 타임' 300만 돌파, '로코' 흥행 기록 다시 썼다". TV daily. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  21. ^ "International gross figures from Box Office Mojo". BoxOfficeMojo.com. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Kermode, Mark (8 September 2013). "About Time — review". The Guardian. 
  23. ^ a b Gibson, Megan (5 November 2013). "Plot-holes and Problems in Richard Curtis's 'About Time'". TIME. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  24. ^ Barber, Nicholas (30 August 2013). "Why time does not travel well in Richard Curtis' new film About Time". The Independent (London). 
  25. ^ Johanson, Mary Ann (6 September 2013). "About Time review: creep trick". FlickFilosopher.com. 
  26. ^ Cummins, Steve (6 September 2013). "About Time: Film Review". The Irish Post. 
  27. ^ Turner, Matthew (4 September 2013). "About Time Film Review". ViewLondon.co.uk. 
  28. ^ Erbland, Kate (1 October 2013). "'About Time' Review: Time-Traveling Charmer Arrives Right in the Nick". Film School Rejects. 
  29. ^ About Time Soundtrack on iTunes

External links[edit]