Time travel stories are often more fantasy than science fiction and so it is in About Time. Our hero turns 21 and his father takes him aside and says-‘Men in our family can travel through time.’ Oh, right-and that’s it for any explanation as to how or why this might be so. We then spend the rest of the film watching him bounce around in his own past, changing anything and everything that strikes his fancy, but mostly concentrating on finding the love of his life.
His fathers sets a few ground rules, he can’t go forward in time and he can only travel back in his own lifetime, so he can’t go back and kill Hitler for example. Which doesn’t explain why his grandfather or great grandfather didn’t go back and kill Hitler, but really, that’s much more of a Big Issue kind of time travel thing that we don’t bother with here. Here it’s all about fixing things like spilled drinks and making sure there are no awkward moments, such as blurting out to your girlfriend’s father that you’re definitely not having oral sex with his daughter.
About Time is a sweet movie with a brilliant cast and a lot of nice background music. It is a little slow on the pacing and having just seen it I already feel most of drifting away. In the end we are lead to believe that having the ability to travel in time is just a burden your better off not having. After all, who wants to win the lottery or prevent a bombing or chat up JK Rowling in that coffee shop in Edinburgh? Much better to make sure you have the best sex ever on a first date.
About Time was still a fun show, though it lacks the emotional punch of such British shows as Sherlock and Doctor Who, where I always end up a bit verklempt. About Time was Groundhog Day meets Notting Hill with a splash of The Time Traveler’s Wife, only without the challenges faced by the heroes of those films. We never see any real negative consequences of time travel, such as those faced by anyone who ever tries to save the life of Lincoln or Kennedy, for example. The one side effect of time travel we see didn’t strike me as all that bad, though clearly the hero found it unsettling. Like all other problems our hero meets, it can be instantly corrected by a short time hop and life goes on it’s perfect way.
About Time was fun and interesting, but somehow I was expecting a bit more. It just all seemed pretty pointless.