About Time - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

About Time Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 27, 2014
The soundtrack is spectacular and the plot so warm and delightful that it makes me want to simply forget the few missteps that pop up here and there along the way - and it is also surprisingly touching for a film that wants so much to sound profound and be a life lesson.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2014
Not your typical romcom, relying on a time travel fantasy element. This film is well acted and charming, with a surprisingly profound message. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Super Reviewer
½ August 13, 2014
The stain of formulism and growing sappiness can't make up for an initially interesting coming of age story. Nevertheless, I wish I'd seen more romantic comedies that had one bit of writer/director Richard Curtis' amusing, charming and mature view on life and relationships, rather than the usual parade of clichés, scatological humour and general shallowness. He aims high... and fails, but at least he tries, and the passion of everyone involved in the project can be easily spotted.
Super Reviewer
July 13, 2014
This is a film for the flawed romantic, who really does want to watch happily ever after happen without all the dramatic loss and heartbreak. "About Time" is not a film that delays pain, or revels in mind bending configurations dealing with time travel. For the subset that enjoyed "The Time Traveler's Wife" but wished it was a funny, woebegone tale of guy gets girl, guy makes girl happy for the rest of their lives, this is the film for you. It's honest, it's emotional, and it aims to show the pleasant irreverence of life in all aspects. It's especially tender when dealing with drug abuse, relationship problems, and death's presence. Still, it stays whimsical throughout, a feat that other fluffy romantic films can only dream about attaining.
Super Reviewer
½ February 10, 2014
I'm a big fan of Richard Curtis' films (especially Love Actually). They make me feel good and are usually very entertaining. They aren't exactly the highest quality films, but they don't need to be. About Time isn't on par with Love Actually, but it is another solid entry into his overly sentimental and wholly entertaining films category. The story is a little on the cheesy side, but told well enough that you get invested in the characters who are played with charm and wit (minus Rachel McAdams, who is just there to look pretty). Bill Nighy is often hilarious and Domhnall Gleeson holds his own admirably. The overall plot structure follows its own rules when it comes to the time traveling mechanics, which is refreshing, but at times annoying too because you keep expecting established rules to take effect (like the butterfly effect) and they don't. Either way, I enjoyed this movie for what it was and am kind of sad that this might be Curtis' last film.
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2013
Writing my review with 50 minutes still to go in this 2 hour mess that I was actually looking forward to watching.
First of all, I really like Rachel Mcadams. I have enjoyed her in a lot of movies. She's fine here too, but the guy (who makes so much of an impression I can't even remember his name, even though he's the lead character and the movie is currently playing as I write), has the charisma of a gingerbread biscuit. Blah. No personality, just a wet towel. I don't buy that Rachel Mcadams would look twice at him, and that lack of chemistry comes across in the movie.
The basic premise of the film, which is that the men in the family can time travel back in time doesn't work. Bill Nighy looks embarrassed even relating this family secret. Worse, nothing of substances is done with it. I know there is tragedy coming up, because I read the spoilers, but to me it's still nothing.
The movie hits cloying one hour in with the couple married and expecting a baby. Excuse me while I go off and hurl. I really hate this s$&t in a rom com - especially when it's just lumped in as this one is with no explanation, no background etc.
I then read it's the same person responsible for the other crappy movies I can't stand - Notting Hill, 4 weddings and a funeral, love actually and suddenly it all makes sense. I like a rom com as much as the next person, but I really find those ones not good, and their popularity staggers me.
So glad I did not buy this one. So glad!!!!
Super Reviewer
½ January 15, 2014
Boring, uninteresting drama that squanders its potential on a bland script and disguises its limited story with the time travel aspect. The result is a film that just disappoints and you are left wanting more out of the film. I didn't like the film, and I was hoping for something considering its concept. Unfortunately, I felt it went nowhere, and instead of breaking new ground in terms of a romantic drama, it ended up being a clichéd film disguised with a neat idea. About Time may have had a chance of being a good film, unfortunately it's just an overdone predictable affair, that fails to really standout or be worth seeing. Don't expect anything good here; this is a film that will leave you disappointed. About Time is a film that just wastes a unique idea and adds every genre cliché to appeal to a wider audience. Instead of reinventing the genre, it lingers on, and navigates all too familiar territory that has been set by previous genre films. About Time is a mess, one that isn't worth seeing, and the cast here are wasted on such a bland, uninspired script that doesn't satisfy. This is a film that unfortunately is boring and has no redeeming qualities. About Time could have been a good picture, but it relies too much on predictability to create its story, that it's just not interesting in the long run. Skip it, and watch something else. This film just fails as drama, and it's a forgettable film that could have been so much more, but doesn't take off due to a not fully fleshed script, poor performances and lazy storytelling. I've seen better films than this, and About Time is a mess from start to finish, and considering some of the talent involved here, I'm in shocked that they couldn't make a better film than this.
Bathsheba Monk
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2013
I loved this movie despite the fact that it had everything I usually dislike in a movie: "feel good" "time travel" "message about appreciating every moment you have". etc. It worked. My life is full of little moments I would like to do over and that the main character had this ability worked wonderfully. I especially like that the first time he tried it, he used his power to make a girl who had a crush on him feel good. The father-son relationship was moving. Everything was just a little nicer because the two principals--father and son--had the ability to remake life's defining moments and they did it with a little more love.
Super Reviewer
½ January 7, 2014
A new funny film about love. With a bit of time travel.

Amazing Film! Wow I'm so glad I've watch this and it caught me off guard too on how good it was. "About Time" is a romantic comedy about the vicissitudes of life and love. It's witty, clever, intelligent and very funny. But it's also a film of perhaps quite surprising depth.The performances, the screenplay, the direction and the soundtrack are first class. The humour is excellent. The film done a fine job in balancing the comedic and dramatic elements of the story, providing enough laughter and allowing it to flow smoothly without feeling too overly long despite its 2 hours running time. The message or overall theme of the film about appreciating life as if it was your last was subtle and not too forceful or preachy.The selection of songs for the film was appropriate and not too overly done for the emotional scenes.The on-screen chemistry between Rachel and Domhnall are convincing enough for the audience to watch them going through life together. On the other hand, Domhnall and Bill, as father and son, their connection is felt throughout the film and certainly evoke some poignant memories when watching them together. It's one of the best romantic comedies this year had to offer. Enjoyable movie that will lift your spirits, and you may even want to watch it again to enjoy the finer details. I recommend this movie to anyone who likes romantic comedies, or a little bit of fantasy. Do yourself a favor and go see it!!!

At the age of 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he can travel in time... The night after another unsatisfactory New Year party, Tim's father (Bill Nighy) tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim can't change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life-so he decides to make his world a better place...by getting a girlfriend. Sadly, that turns out not to be as easy as you might think. Moving from the Cornwall coast to London to train as a lawyer, Tim finally meets the beautiful but insecure Mary (Rachel McAdams). They fall in love, then an unfortunate time-travel incident means he's never met her at all. So they meet for the first time again-and again-but finally, after a lot of cunning time-traveling, he wins her heart. Tim then uses his power to create the perfect romantic proposal, to save his wedding from the worst best-man speeches, to save his best friend from professional disaster and to get his pregnant wife to the hospital in time for the birth of their daughter, despite a nasty traffic jam outside Abbey Road. But as his unusual life progresses, Tim finds out that his unique gift can't save him from the sorrows and ups and downs that affect all families, everywhere. There are great limits to what time travel can achieve, and it can be dangerous too.
Super Reviewer
December 6, 2013
Oh so googly. From the opening strains of a favorite Ben Fold slow-jam to Mary sashaying down the aisle in a fetching red gown to Italian pop opera, this movie just charms and doesn't stop. The filial and romantic relationships are all so supportive and honest that they made me shit Double Deckers and vomit holy thistle (UK candy and plant to parallel my usual shitting and vomiting of chocolate and daisies). The meet-cute at one of those vogue blind restaurants is unique, and the rained out wedding scramble is so full of joy.

I liked Domhnall Gleeson as solemn Levin in Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina," and I like him now as genial and humorous Tim. I haven't liked Rachel McAdams since "Mean Girls," especially not after time travel/amnesia romance became her bread and butter, but her short, mousey fringe here lends her a normal, unassuming quality.

The narrative does fall apart around the middle though when the filmmakers realized they needed to inject some conflict; unfortunately, the conflict is of the high stakes but easily-fixed-by-time-travel variety. I'm really surprised at how little the characters and the movie seem to know about time travel, theoretically. Does Tim not figure out that if he goes back in time to help his playwright lessor Harry that he forfeits his chance of meeting Mary? If Kit Kat possesses new memories of being in love with Jay, why doesn't Tim have new memories of the baby boy? The audience is expected to just roll with his rejection of a living, breathing child because the world of this movie is Tim's, not anyone else's who may have developed strong attachments to this kid, so he's just free to play God, as it were. It's more than a little unsettling once you think about it. The sperm explanation doesn't make any sense at all; Tim still risks making changes every day he goes back to relive the pleasures of a day.

All in all, the romcom parts are sweet and quirky, but the time travel conceit just goes to prove a trite thesis: the best time is now.
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2013
A boy discovers that the men in his family can travel back in time to a moment of their choosing, and he uses this power to pursue his dream girl.
Super Reviewer Alice Shen's birthday movie is so fucking charming it makes me want to punch happiness in the face. The film parades from one delightful moment to the next, and it gets to the point where there is almost no conflict. Indeed, the one problem that Tim can's solve with time travel, his sister's depression, reaches its resolution by Tim and Mary sitting and waiting. Yes, a conflict is resolved by waiting for it to get better.
Also, the time travel elements don't hold water for anyone familiar with other time travel stories. Once Tim goes back in time, does he have to live through the intervening time again like in Stephen King's 11-22-63, or does he get to jump back to the future (heh, heh) once his task is complete? If so what happens to his other, past self? And why doesn't he have memories of his new kid if his sister has memories of her new boyfriend? No sense, Richard Curtis!
Finally, let's play a game: "Spot the Misogyny in Richard Curtis's Latest." In Love Actually we're meant to believe that Colin can have a foursome iin Wisconsin because he has a "cute British accent." I tried this in Ohio, and no, you can't. In Pirate Radio the female characters only exist to pleasure male desires. And (drumroll please) the women in Tim's family can't do shit. They can't travel back in time. They can't freeze time. They can "be uninterested" in a life without their men. That's about it.
All this notwithstanding, the film did touch a small, still-living section of my heart, so I can't pan it too badly.
Overall, if you're susceptible charm, then this is the film for you.
Super Reviewer
½ September 19, 2013
Some days you can re-live forever.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2013
There's an undeniable glut of films recently about people with superpowers, and those people use those powers either to fight crime or to commit crime, and then to fight each other ... but in this film a guy finally does what most people would really do: improve his love life. What he discovers, after some comic misadventures, is that if he was paying attention and care, that he doesn't need his power at all, makes for a refreshing spin on the whole superpower fad and for a pleasant time at the flickers. An amiable cast welcomes us to the proceedings while gently nudging us to the suggestion that we learn to use our own superpower as well.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2013
Richard Curtis is something equivalent to royalty in romantic comedy circles. The man wrote Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, the screenplay for Bridget Jones' Diary, and he wrote and directed Love, Actually. If you are a fan of those movies, then About Time is already at the top of your to-do list. Reportedly Curtis' last movie he will direct (he's only done three), this time-travel romance looks to be a break from a genre burdened by convention. If you like your British rom-coms to be mildly cheeky, hopelessly dewy-eyed romantic, filled with beautiful people, and loaded with hugs, then About Time with suffice. If you were expecting something grander from the premise you'll walk away shaking your head at all the squandered potential.

Tim (Domhnall Gleeson, son of Brendan) is a normal upper class British student when his father (Bill Nighy) sits him down to have... The Talk. This one isn't about birds and bees so much as it is the space-time continuum. It seems that the men in their family have the unique ability to travel through time, though only during their lifetimes. All Tim need do is find a somewhat secluded, dark corner, clench his fists, and think his way back to a particular memory. Tim is able to blink out embarrassing incidents and use his foreknowledge. He meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) and sets his sights on making her fall in love with him. He corrects their courtship until he gets everything "right."

While eminently pleasant and suitably funny and emotional, About Time is a tale of wasted potential. I'm unsure why Curtis even brought in such an unconventional element like time travel if he was just going to play it safe. The standard, feel-good rom-com route feels the safe way through, and while it's well done in that regard, I almost wish the film had pushed further with its concept. To begin with, the time travel restrictions are arbitrarily applied and will later be broken altogether as the film continues. When time travel is used it's played out like Groundhog Day, with Tim immediately going back to fine-tune his actions, particularly his courting of Mary. That works, as we get used to the inertia of the edits, but that seems to be the lone focus. Once he gets the girl, Tim rarely uses his amazing gift. He's content and so time travel is an afterthought when, as I suspect for any of us, it would be all we could think about. Tim lacks suitable ambition. I think the film would have been weightier had its lead been less idealistic. He's a nice guy but imagine a Lothario having the power to travel back in time. He could physically cheat on his wife, go back and make sure it never happened, and live his life, having his cake and eating it too, except for the guilt. Is it cheating if it happened in an alternate timeline? Or what if he was a stockbroker committing insider trading with his past self. In fact, what if he just interacted with his older, more morally wanton self? There's also the fact that Mary never finds out about any of this. At no point does Tim reveal his family's incredible ability and have to atone for his actions. I'm fairly certain Mary would feel like her marital bliss could be the end product to manipulation. Alas, we're stuck with our cute, acceptable, but mostly square rom-com.

While likeable, I didn't think the characters themselves were sketched out well; I like McAdams and Gleeson, but I couldn't really say much about them as people. He's a lawyer. She works as a reader for a publisher. His family is kind of rich. And that's about it. Even through their interactions we don't learn much about Tim or Mary. They fall in love, and it's nice, but the lack of characterization, besides the fact that they are cute together, kept me from fully investing in their love story. I doubt the target audience will have this same issue. I found them cute and their scenes are cute together but I need more about my main characters than a collection of cute scenes. Another nagging aspect of their courtship is that it seems too easy. Tim has the amazing power of time travel so he can fix any problem presented, but that shouldn't stop the appearance of problems. Tim and Mary are nice people that seem to have no discernible differences, besides Tim's leftover feelings for a first love. An audience may say they want a couple to be sweet together always. They don't. It's boring. We need conflict. With About Time, there just isn't enough of it and Tim and Mary are too underdeveloped for me to pine for them.

There are loads of dangling storylines that feel like they are leftovers from past drafts. You would think wrapping up a peachy marriage early would lead to some sort of personal crossroads and sacrifice. Everything was coming far too easily for Tim, so I kept waiting for another shoe to drop late in the film, to give him the chance to undo his own personal happiness and marriage to, say, save a beloved family member. I kept waiting for some kind of greater personal stakes, but it never came. Then the movie has all sorts of dangling storylines that do not seem conceptualized. The doddy uncle who seems to be experiencing the ravaged effects of too much time travel? Not much there. They never explain him and so he is just the standard Brit com-com kooky family member to say weird things offhand. Seems like a waste of greater pathos. Tim's troubled sister? She's fixed in a pinch and of course it all has to do with the men she's dating.

Then there are the rules, which in time travel need to be adhered to closely or else the butterfly effect ripples cascade. We're told at first that Tim can only go backwards in time. This gives the impression that he has to live out all that extra time. So, say, if Tim traveled back two years, he'd have to live out all two years to get back to the presumed moment he began his journey backwards (writing about time travel does wonderful things with sentence tenses). So every jump back requires reliving your life. But then all of a sudden Tim can jump forward in time as well. No one comments about this. If the men in the family are reliving days and possibly years of time, then shouldn't they be preternaturally aging, looking 70 at 50 and so on? Then there's the fact that Tim introduces the ability to travel back in time WITH another person. This is never dealt with again, sadly, and it's a big deal. You can bring other people with you through time. This is an amazing opportunity but it's wasted like so many others.

However, with all that said, the movie won me over more as it transitioned into a greater emphasis on the father/son relationship, enough so that it feels like Curtis trying to get the sense of closure we so rarely get in life. I though a late trip backwards, as a young son skipping stones with his dad before he may never see him again, was quite beautiful. It got me wishing the film had given more time to explore the dynamics of father/son time travelers, a rich dramatic possibility that only reminds you how much more interesting About Time could have been.

About Time will be catnip to its target audience, namely female rom-com fans. I found it a fairly pleasant movie and its stars wholly likeable. I laughed at spots and even got teary-eyed a bit toward the end as the film's emphasis shifted from a guy-gets-girl narrative to more of a father-son examination. The funny Brit characters do their thing, the lovely scenery remains lovely, and the declarations of love get a spit-shine. It is an effective romantic comedy that will charm and please and get its audience to swoon, but I was left feeling that its potential went untapped as it settled on a safer, more conventional story despite all the unconventional possibility. Why introduce time travel if you're just going to take the safest route possible with your storytelling, never pitting Tim in a difficult decision he has to make, or jeopardizing his carefully manipulated happiness? There are so many possibilities Curtis had with a premise that opens up alternative histories, but it seems like he settled for another dash of more-of-the-same.

Nate's Grade: B-
Super Reviewer
October 24, 2013
Richard Curtis has only directed three movies, and one of them is my second favorite movie ever, "Love Actually". Whenever I hear/see "from the people that brought you Love Actually" I take notice. "Pirate Radio" was his second movie, another very underrated comedy and now "About Time". "About Time" is a simple love story with time travel as a center device. It stars Domhnall Gleeson as Tim, an awkward guy who wants nothing more than to find a girlfriend. On his 21st birthday his world is thrown for a loop when his father(Bill Nighy) tells him how the men in their family can travel through time. He can't go to the future or anything crazy, just back to his own life, to relive and change if he wants. From there he uses time travel to help him find the love of his life and fix some small wrongs in his life. Rachel McAdams plays his love interest Mary and they have wonderful chemistry. The cast in this is just perfect. Scenes with Nighy and Domhnall are fantastic as you really do buy into their father-son relationship. Being a father has given me new insight to movies like this, and there were a couple moments that nearly brought a tear to my eye. Now this isn't one of those movies with big dramatic scenes, or a lot of melodrama. It's a small love story with a small sci-fi element thrown in. Emily really enjoyed it because of this, that it really isn't what you would expect. It's just a nice, simple movie, that is very funny and charming. I liked it a lot(now it was a free advance screening, so I'm sure that didn't hurt), and would say it's an absolute perfect date movie, that guys will enjoy too.
Super Reviewer
½ October 6, 2013
Good cast and storyline about a guy who can time travel which is uses to meet his dreamgirl.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2013
Upon turning 21, Tim(Domhnall Gleeson) gets The Talk from his father(Bill Nighy). No, not that one. The one about the men of their family all being time travelers. Tim is naturally skeptical until he takes a test run and undoes an embarrassing moment at a New Year's Eve party. However, that trick does him no good with Charlotte(Margot Robbie). But then it turns out he may not need time travel after all to find love when he meets Mary(Rachel McAdams) which would be considered love at first sight if it did not happen in a blacked out restaurant.

"About Time" does have certain things going for it such as a totally relatable couple for a change and showing everybody the right way to do a musical montage sequence. But like Richard Curtis' previous film, the bloated, if entertaining, "Love, Actually," he again proves his willingness to overstuff a romantic comedy to the brim. This time, he adds time travel into the mix but except for one strange detail does not do anything original with it, as Tim seems content to stalk in the fourth dimension. That's not to mention the whole business with Tim saving Harry's(Tom Hollander) play being so contrived, since Harry is such a pompous jackass that the Dalai Lama would not even help him. For the record, that sort of is par for the course in "About Time" whose central message is that women can only find true happiness in the most boring man possible, as Tim's dad uses time travel to catch up on his reading.
Super Reviewer
½ November 13, 2013
With such writing credits as FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL and NOTTING HILL, Richard Curtis quickly rose to legendary status as the King of the Brit-Rom-Coms. Add his directing debut to the mix with LOVE ACTUALLY, and he's practically THE GOD of the genre. So it was with a certain level of high hopes that I went into his latest writing/directing offering, ABOUT TIME. I was intrigued that he had added the science fiction element of time travel to his repertoire and was curious to see if a new hybrid had been born. Granted SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED had beaten him to the punch with its highly successful Sci-Fi, Mumblecore, Romcom mashup, but I was willing to give Curtis the benefit of the doubt and just go with it.

Unfortunately, the results, while nicely filmed and beautifully performed are all in service to a script that misses its mark by a longshot. Imagine a film with no stakes and no conflict and you have ABOUT TIME. If you're into people being sweet to each other for two hours, this may be for you, but every opportunity Curtis had to complicate the story, he ignored.

Domhnall Gleeson is Tim, a young man who, when turning 21, learns from his father (Bill Nighy being all Bill Nighy-y) that the men in his family have the ability to time travel. They can't change major events like the Holocaust, but they can redo conversations, relive certain personal moments to effect a better outcome. Not a bad premise for several reasons: 1) It puts a new twist on a romantic comedy and 2) Knowing that more than one person can time travel suggests things will get REALLY twisted later.

Sadly, the film is structured to offer us scene after scene of Tim screwing up or noting someone else's screw-up, Tim going back in time to rectify things, and Tim enjoying the fruits of his labor. Rinse, lather, repeat. Enter Rachel McAdams as his love interest at just the right time to add another layer to the proceedings. Of course, from everything I've already written, you can guess that things don't get too layered here. I should have known from what is possibly the most ill-advised "meet cute" in the history of rom-coms. Their first encounter is in one of those trendy pitch black restaurants, so we, the audience, are treated to a dark screen for five minutes as we listen to some uninspired dialogue of the "please pass the salt" variety. The relationship between the two, however, has a nice sparkle, with both doing fine, pleasant work. No more, no less.

Curtis is a smart man, and clearly he decided to go against the grain here and not BACK TO THE FUTURE the hell out of his story. The camera work is mostly handheld, which lends some credibility to what is a preposterous premise. Cinematographer John Guleserian did similar work with LIKE CRAZY. The actions are small, so at least the direction is mostly quiet and intimate. The effect of this is that not much happens and the message is the less-than-profound one of living each day to its fullest. Bet you didn't know that one yet.

There were many opportunities to have a better film. [MILD SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH] Tim meets another woman but resists sleeping with her. Why not? She was his first love. Having sex with her would have raised the stakes, especially if McAdams were to find out. Same goes for McAdams discovering his family secret. You're waiting the whole movie for a revelation you're certain is going to come, and it never does. Or why not have the women of the family share in their ability to time travel, and the genders have kept it from each other for generations? Or how about allowing Bill Nighy to screw up his son's travels and really make this a tangled web? Nope. None of it happens. The movie just kind of sits there, albeit with a kind, gentle heart.


This is a film completely devoid of an "aha" moment. Its Greeting Card sentiments may warm your heart, but you'll forget about it as soon as you leave the theatre. Me? I'll use my God-given abilities to travel back to the moment before I saw ABOUT TIME, and see something in Theatre 4 instead.
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