When it comes to it, ‘About Time’ is a typical coming-of-age misadventure story. With time travel.
A little older than a typical coming-of-age protagonist, Tim was a rather dorky young adult with an eccentric family. What he didn’t know is that his family also has a secret: all men can travel time. Each could go back to his past to alter some events. Time travel would only affect his immediate circumstances and would not make a huge dent on history.
What’s a boy with time-travel powers supposed to do? Why, get a girlfriend, of course.
Though formulaic and often predictable, ‘About Time’ is not without charm: A dorky-cute, sympathetic lead. Lots of lovely shots Cornwall. Quirky supporting characters. Hilarious repetitions of events. More lovely shots of Cornwall.
The rules of time travel were clearly established at the beginning of the story. The ability to rewind the past allowed for Tim to run awkwardly headlong into a situation and ‘correct’ it later if things go horribly wrong (which often does, poor guy).
Despite the movie initially making the audience think that Tim was merely another horny post-teen (well he was, actually), he was also shown as a very caring son and brother. His relationship with his father and sister was the most touching part of the movie, as if, halfway through the movie, the filmmakers eventually forgot about the very lovely Rachel McAdams.
You would expect soon enough that Tim would eventually use his ability for less self-centered reasons. Unfortunately, in Tim’s universe, good deeds very rarely go unpunished. Going back in time to correct something would eventually bring unexpected results.
But don’t worry, the movie poster spoiled it already: He will definitely get the girl.
The set-up and tone of ‘About Time’ reminded me of the anime movie ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’ and the Italian movie ‘Marcello, Marcello’ (but without time travel) — generally cheerful, optimistic, and full of golden sunshine. It isn’t very original and is hardly ground-breaking; but it is a good movie to watch with a few close friends on a lazy afternoon.