About Time (2013) is a film starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Nighy; written and directed by Richard Curtis.
The film is a love story with a sci-fi twist. On his 21st Birthday, Tim is told by his Dad that the men in his family are able to travel in time to relive any moment in their lives over again. Tim then sets off to find love and fulfilment.
The time travel aspect of this film allows for there to be 3 different “meet cute” moments, which is an interesting departure from the standard conventions in a love story. It also creates some interesting dilemmas for the main character, which show his personality exceptionally well. After meeting Mary the first time, Tim comes home to find that his flatmate, who is a playwright, had a terrible opening night because one of his actors forgot his lines. Tim immediately goes back in time to help the actor remember his lines, thus removing meeting Mary. He then has to work very hard to find Mary again; but he never thinks about going back and undoing his decision to help his friend. It really struck me on watching the film that it is unthinkable for Tim to let his friend get hurt, even if it means that Tim has to pay a price personally. I think the scene has to be one of the best ‘show don’t tell’ examples I’ve ever seen.
Another departure from the standard love story are the very weak love triangle, where the love interest from the beginning hook (played by Margot Robbie) does compete with Mary for a single scene, and Tim’s love for Mary is never challenged.
The last notable departure from normal love story conventions is the third act breakup never happens. However, the convention is replaced by the death of Tim’s father. The film carries a subplot about the love between Tim and his Dad and the scenes around his death are heart wrenching. It is a fantastic innovation on the typical love story that always brings a tear my eye. In a world where Tim can go back and not make mistakes, it doesn’t really make sense to have a third act break up, which is usually premised on a simple misunderstanding.
On the whole this is a fantastic film, if you haven’t seen it you should, and if you have seen it before, it’s a great film to rewatch.