Front Row at the Movies
Is Love Retold
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Don’t you wish you could go back in time and change something you botched? Or better still, go back and make something good happen … like that New Year’s Eve kiss you wish you’d taken?
That’s the plot of “About Time,” a sweet little rom-com about time travel that’s now playing at the Tropic Cinema.
In this telling (and retelling), we meet an eccentric British family who live on the Cornwall coast. Among these of sharply etched characters is the dad (wonderful Bill Nighy), a college professor who has taken early retirement so that he can spend his days playing table tennis with his son and enjoying tea on the beach with his family. Mum (Lindsay Duncan) is a take-charge lady, the glue of the family. Mum’s befuddled brother (Richard Cordery) lives with them. Sister Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson) loves purple and has a zest for life and the wrong guys. And Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is the likeable and insightful narrator of our tale.
While some fathers leave their sons an inheritance -- money, land, a gold watch, Tim Lake’s dad bestows upon him a secret: that the men in the family have the ability to travel in time.
Sure enough, step into a dark place, clinch your fists, think of a time in the past and -- gasp! -- you’re there. Able to claim a do-over.
So when the awkward, scrawny redheaded Tim meets a pretty girl, he can redo that bungled encounter or not-so-great first-time sex or correct those points where life seems to go off-track.
On the surface, this is the story of when Tim met Mary (Rachel McAdams), the somewhat shy, sensitive American girl with a fringe hairdo. They meet … and remeet … and remeet till he gets it right. However, this time travel tale is more akin to “The Time Traveler’s Wife” than to “Groundhog Day.”
Truth is, this is really about a son’s relationship with a remarkable dad. Or more accurately about the discovery of the joys of being alive. Whatever the time.