Friday, October 18, 2013

About Time

We flew in from Auckland on Wednesday, arriving about 4.30 and after about five minutes at home and absolute craziness from the dog, found ourselves going out again, to the movies.  Our daughter had won a couple of seats, courtesy of More FM, to a preview of About Time.  Written and directed by the New Zealand-born Richard Curtis (Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral) this is a wacky romantic comedy that, for the most part, holds its peculiar time travel idea together without losing credibility (at least while you're watching the movie, which is all that's important).  Curtis is supported by a wonderful cast, with one of Brendan Gleeson's sons, Domhnall, in the main role, and Rachel McAdams as his girlfriend. Bill Nighy plays the hero's father, with that wonderful dryness and seeming vagueness that he's so good at. And a great deal of warmth, because this isn't just a romantic movie, but one about fathers and sons, and their relationships, and about what happens when death begins to knock. There are a host of other excellent actors, including Tom Hollander as a bitter and foul-mouthed playwright, and brief and uncredited performances by Richard E Grant and Richard Griffiths as two actors in Hollander's play.

The script is a little loose in structure, but this may in part be the result of its telling the story of a man as he grows from his late school years into married adulthood, where he becomes a father himself. There are times when the time travel aspect seems to be put aside while other things move on, but just when you think Curtis has forgotten about it, he drops it into the story again and reshuffles the plot. At times it seems as though Curtis has given himself too many characters to play around with, but he seems to manage to juggle most of them pretty well.  Only Harry Hadden-Paton, as one of Gleeson's slightly dopey friends, and Richard Cordery, as an uncle given to seemingly Alzheimer's laden non sequiturs, seem never quite to fit into the whole scheme of things. Nevertheless, t
here are plenty of witty lines, lots of adept comedy playing, and some unexpectedly emotional moments.
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