Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'About Time' review: Love at first (and second and third) sight

***1/2 (out of four)

That sensation, one that the movies rarely elicit anymore, is your heart tingling.

While writer-director Richard Curtis (“Notting Hill,” “Love Actually”) always can be accused of sentimentality, corny plays well in characters we hope find happiness—especially in “About Time.” On that note: Welcome to the big show, Domhnall Gleeson. In an immensely likable, breakout turn, the actor (“Anna Karenina”) stars as Tim, a shy, 21-year-old Englishman whose dad (the great Bill Nighy) informs him that the men in their family can travel back in time. Not to, say, kill Hitler or shag Helen of Troy. The power only allows them to return to moments they’ve lived before and get a do-over.

Once he’s finished revising New Year’s Eve missteps and re-failing at wooing the gorgeous Charlotte (Margot Robbie of the upcoming “Wolf of Wall Street”), Tim focuses his attention and, periodically, his gift on American girl Mary (Rachel McAdams, of course). Even granted the ability to order second and third takes of his own story, Tim discovers the limits to manipulation and the life that happens when you’re neither looking nor trying.

At times the movie’s light on conflict; elsewhere Curtis generates it through somewhat arbitrary rules, the exact sort of clunky business “Looper” worked to avoid. But hey, it’s a time travel movie. The physics aren’t always going to add up. The filmmaker has blended a “Futurama” episode with “Serendipity” (and perhaps specks of “In Time” and “Sliding Doors”) to craft that near-extinct being, the quality date movie. It’s recommended for anyone with a soft spot and someone to sit next to while getting emotionally (or literally, I guess) rubbed.

It spoils nothing to say that the hilarious, deliciously romantic “About Time” closes on a lovely, mundane moment between two people, appreciating the specialness of the ordinary—which doesn’t seem so ordinary with the right perspective. What a privilege to swoon over the familiar.
 

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Trump fallout: Macy's, Emmitt Smith, Flo Rida out of Miss USA

    Trump fallout: Macy's, Emmitt Smith, Flo Rida out of Miss USA

    Rapper Flo Rida, the Macy's department store chain and football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith all had something in common on Wednesday: They're the latest to distance themselves from Donald Trump following his remarks about Mexican immigrants.

  • Metro denies 'savages' party after social media backlash

    Metro denies 'savages' party after social media backlash

    The producer for a "savages" party featuring a man wearing facepaint and a Native American headdress on the party bill said Wednesday the Aug. 7 party will occur at Metro after the Wrigleyville venue announced no events are slated for that date. "We signed a contract and paid a deposit. The date's...

  • CPS officials seek pension payment relief, warn of more cuts

    CPS officials seek pension payment relief, warn of more cuts

    Chicago Public Schools officials warned Wednesday that without relief from their next massive pension contribution, they would have to make $500 million in additional cuts in the coming year, on top of looming cuts they say will be caused by this year's pension payment.

  • Chicago's happy campers cross city limits to soak in Great Outdoors

    Chicago's happy campers cross city limits to soak in Great Outdoors

    Source: Jim Boyce/Daily Southtown Summer is the perfect time for Chicagoans to escape the hectic city life filled with appointments, meetings and deadlines and chill out, well, outdoors. Campers don't have to take a long road trip to Wisconsin, Michigan or Indiana to pitch a tent. They don't have...

  • Chicago festivals this weekend: July 3-5

    Chicago festivals this weekend: July 3-5

    Although a short list this Fourth of July weekend, it’s certainly not a quiet one. Get down and dancey at the Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic on Saturday, ride a cultural wave of Caribbean, African and Latin American tunes at the three-day International Festival of Life or fill up at a giant...

  • Get out! (of your Chicago comfort zone)

    Get out! (of your Chicago comfort zone)

    Chicago isn’t New York—it’s not the kind of place where people leave town for huge chunks of the summer.

Comments
Loading