Movie Mom

Movie Mom


About Time

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Profanity:Very strong and crude language
Nudity/Sex:Explicit sexual references and sexual situations
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking and substance abuse
Violence/Scariness:Sad death, scary car crash
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 3, 2014

about-time1Richard Curtis perfected the art of the 21st century romantic comedy in “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill,” and “Love Actually.”  They were witty and sophisticated and had posh British accents that made them seem twice as witty and sophisticated.  They were filled with of pretty people wearing pretty clothes in pretty settings, seasoned with self-deprecating humor, magnificent friendships, pop-y soundtracks, and happy ever after endings.  “About Time” has all of that, plus a twist.  I don’t mean the addition of a fantasy time travel element, thought that is something of a departure.  The real twist is that the important love story here is not between man and woman but between father and son.

Oh, there’s a romantic love story, of course, and it’s the part that’s featured on the poster.  Tim (Domhnall Gleeson, son of the Irish actor Brendan Gleeson and best known as one of the Weasley brothers in the “Harry Potter” films) lives in Cornwall with his family, a blissfully happy group that includes his slightly starchy mother (Lindsay Duncan), slightly dotty but impeccably dressed uncle (Richard Cordery), wild child of a sister (Lydia Wilson), and book-loving, family-loving dad (the indispensable Bill Nighy).  Dad explains to Tim that the men in their family have the ability to travel through time.  There are limits, of course.  Like “Quantum Leap,” he is limited to his own lifetime.  He can’t go back and meet Queen Victoria or ride a dinosaur.  And, as Tim will spend the rest of the movie discovering, while he can go back to correct a mistake, the ripple effect of even the tiniest change may have very big consequences that are not so easy to fix.

It may sound all very precious and cutesy, and it is, with Curtis’ trademark adorable eccentrics that are less adorable than he intended.  Even an English accent can only make up for so much.  Tim’s use of his time travel powers to make up for various gaffes is entertaining in a “Groundhog Day”-lite sort of way.  (There’s something rather meta about a feeling of deja vu in these repeated, slightly improved encounters.)  The romance between Tim and a pretty American named Mary (Rachel McAdams), while refreshingly free of the kinds of agonizingly silly misunderstandings that plague most romantic comedies, is on the bland side.  The first meeting with Mary’s parents is supposed to be awkward and funny, but it’s just awkward.  Things get more interesting later, as Tim and Mary get married and start a family.  The stakes are higher and the choices are more complex.

It is in the third act when things start to get interesting, because that is when the focus shifts to the father-son relationship.  Curtis, who says this is his last film, opens up his heart for a piercingly bittersweet engagement with the big questions of who we are, making peace with not being able to fix everything for everyone we love, and finding a way to make pain and loss deepen us.

Parents should know that this film includes sexual references, some explicit, and some sexual situations, very strong and crude language, car accident, and a sad death.

Family discussion: If you could go back in time, would you correct a mistake or take time to enjoy what already happened? Why did Kit Kat have such a hard time making good decisions? Was there anything her family should have done differently to help her?

If you like this, try: “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Love Actually” from the same writer/director and “Groundhog Day”



  • http://Weasleytwin Cheryl

    This looks like a great movie and I hope to see it, but a minor correction. Domhnall Gleeson did not play one of the Weasley twins in the Harry Potter movies. He played their older brother Bill Weasley. The twins were played by Oliver & James Phelps. :)

    • Nell Minow

      Thank you, Cheryl! Nine more corrections and you get a free copy of my book!

  • Pingback: Edge of Tomorrow - Movie Mom

Previous Posts

COMING THIS MONTH: September 2014 Movies
Happy September!  There isn't much new in theaters this Friday, but next week things start to pick up. Here's the best of what's coming in theaters this month: September 12: "Dolphin Tale 2"  This sequel to the endearing fact-based "Dolphin Tale" brings back stars Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Fr

posted 8:00:52am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Labor Day 2014: Movies About Unions
Today we pay tribute to workers, especially those who worked for better conditions for everyone. Sally Field won an Oscar for this real-life story about a courageous woman who helped mill workers form a union. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45CX8W9peTs[/youtube] Doris Day plays

posted 7:00:42am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Summer Summer-y: The Summer Movies of 2014
A few concluding thoughts on the summer movies of 2014: A good summer for food movies: "The Chef," "The 100-Foot Journey," and "The Trip to Italy" had some big-time actors but the real stars were the luscious meals. Special mention of the delicious French comedy "Le Chef," starring Jean Reno, as

posted 3:46:47pm Aug. 31, 2014 | read full post »

The Last Leonard Maltin Movie Guide
Leonard Maltin was only 17 years old when he was offered the chance to create his guide to movies on television. For many years, I kept the latest copy on my desk and anyone who came into my office could pick a page number at random. If I had not seen any of the movies on that page, I had to buy t

posted 8:00:33am Aug. 31, 2014 | read full post »

"Let's Be Cops" Could Have Been Not Terrible
"Let's Be Cops" is a dumb movie that wants to be like "Lethal Weapon" or "The Other Guys," a comedy action film about buddies with badges. It's moderate box office returns are possibly in part because the unrest in Ferguson and news stories about police brutality made the timing bad for a cop comed

posted 11:35:46am Aug. 30, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.