Film Review: About Time

Reviewed by Sam Robinson

Rated M. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy. Directed by Richard Curtis.

[Stars: 4/5]

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that you just wish you could do over again?

We often carry around regrets where we think ‘If only I’d done that differently!’ This desire to fix our mistakes is addressed in the latest rom-com sci-fi flick, About Time. Yes, I did say rom-com sci-fi – but don’t let that put you off! About Time is a charming film that follows the development of a beautiful relationship.

As he turns the age of 21, dweeby Tim Lake (Gleeson) is let in on a family secret by his father. Every male in the family has the ability to go back in time, simply by entering a confined space and imagining the moment to wish they want to travel. It’s the first time a cupboard is used as a transportation device since Narnia, and it really works!

Tim uses this newfound power to his advantage, to find love. He meets Mary (McAdams) and is soon head-over-heels for her. Despite his extreme social awkwardness, Tim learns from his mistakes and manages to do-over dates, changing his faux pas into winning conversation. It’s Groundhog Day, Advantage: Tim. By perfecting his romantic advances, he manages to win Mary’s heart.

It’s a very surprising concept for a rom-com but the time travel rules are pretty loose. There’s no Doctor Who-esque science to be adhered to and there are plot holes aplenty.

But as the film progressed, I still found myself feeling quite on-edge, waiting for something to go wrong. Surely there’s only a certain number of times Tim can use the time travel safety net until some sort of black hole occurs, or somebody is erased a la Back to the Future? You’ll just have to watch and see how About Time plays out.

About Time has romance, an element of risk, and heartfelt emotion in the mix as well. Gleeson is excellent as Tim and you really do want to see him win the girl, even though he’s not really revealing his true self to Mary. But what this film does best is appeal to our desire for perfection. We can relate to wanting to turn back the clock and do-over so much of our life. Mistakes, hurts, pain. Having a skill like Tim’s could change everything.

The good news is we have a better solution. When we trust in Jesus, he will always meet us with grace when we do stuff up, no matter how great our regret might be. What’s incredible is that his death and resurrection means that our sins – past, present and future – have all been dealt with in the historical cross of Jesus, so that when we do sin, he will always meet us with forgiveness as we turn to him in repentance. 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We will keep stuffing up in our lifetime (social faux pas are guaranteed!) however we shouldn’t fear it because we know the One whose opinion really matters will always meet us with grace. Jumping back in time is like putting on a band aid. Jesus is the real solution.

About Time requires you to forget science and logic, and believe in love. I’m giving it four stars out of five.

About Time is available on Blu-Ray, DVD and streaming on Quickflix.

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