Richard Curtis has created some of the most memorable romantic movies of the last fifteen years, including Notting Hill and Love Actually. What has set his films apart from being another of Hollywood’s run-of-the-mill romantic movies has been the heart and emotional core of the characters. The people in his films don’t feel like caricatures but people you might meet in everyday life. There is emotional weight behind his films that resonates with the experiences we all have throughout our lives and About Time is no exception. With a story that involves time travel there is an opportunity for the film to quickly become lost in its own premise and lose sight of reality, yet it never does. Curtis uses this story element to accentuate the very essence of life, love, family and what it means to be human.
Fathers and Sons:
This summer has been littered with films about father/son relationships; from Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness on the blockbuster side, to smaller films such as The Way Way Back and The Spectacular Now. Each one of these films has had something to say about fatherhood and it’s importance, by either showing the problems that come from the lack of good fathers or the benefit that loving fathers have on their sons.
About Time is very much a love letter to the father/son relationship. The movie centers around Tim who is told on his 21st birthday that the men in his family are able to travel back in time and relive any event they want, as many times as they would like. What follows is a beautiful story of a man learning what it means to be human and live with the choices we make, one moment at a time. Guided lovingly by his father, Tim navigates the waters of life and time travel. Tim’s father tells him to use his gift on the important things in life, not money or power but on relationships (or as his dad has done, he has used it to be able to read as many books as he wants, several times if he wants, what a gift!). At its core the movie is a celebration of what truly matters in life, the relationships in our families and with the friends we make along the journey.
One of the beauties of the film is its celebration of family. The majority of movies today seem to glamorize the broken or dysfunctional family, yet as anyone who has one of these families can tell you, it is nothing be celebrated. About Time portrays family with all its faults and at the same time reminds us that family has been the bedrock of society since people have existed for a reason. Being know and loved is what gives life it’s meaning. Family is supposed to be the place where that is learned and nurtured. Curtis does not shy away from sentimentality and neither should he. By showing us of the ideal, he has gifted our cynical society with the reminder that there is something better and more worthy to pursue.
It has been a long time since a movie this unabashedly sentimental and heartfelt has been in the theaters. Do yourself a favor and seek it out, you won’t regret it. Life really is a collection of moments, happening to us every second we are alive, About Time reminds us to make the most of all of them, not just the mountain tops but everything in between as well .