“About Time” is an innovative look at family, relationships, and the choices people make. The story offers an inspiring look at a young man with extraordinary gifts, that chooses, well, an ordinary life. I was lucky enough to preview the new film by Richard Curtis, the director of the hugely successful romantic comedies: “Love Actually” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral” abroad. The film which opened in England in September, and Internationally yesterday (October 10), is set to reach United States shores in November. Look for it at your local theaters in November.
Added The Guardian http://www.guardian.com in its review of the new film: “As far as we know, Richard Curtis cannot travel through time. But the kingpin of the Britcom can get a huge movie off the ground. And, along with the possible, Curtis has managed to achieve the impossible. Specifically: he has gone back to 1993 and remade Groundhog Day with a ginger Hugh Grant.”
“About Time, Curtis's third film as director as well as writer following Love, Actually (2003) and The Boat that Rocked (2009), is about as close to home as a homage can get without calling in the copyright team,” added The Guardian. “What throws you off the scent are those other notes that flood out from the first frame – heady remembrances of Curtis films past. There's the familiar lush locations: the rambling coastal pad where our hero grows up with parents Bill Nighy and Lindsay Duncan, then the London digs to which he decamps when starting out at the bar – a Smeg-ready mansion owned by Tom Hollander's church-mouse playwright.”
“There's the vaguely disabled family member (in this case, a permanently befuddled uncle), the regulation scatty sister who needs redeeming (Lydia Wilson). And, all present and correct, the bright-smiled American goddess (Rachel McAdams) who will rescue our bumbling toff,” according to The Guardian’s review.
“And, of course, there's Hugh Grant – or rather, a new hybrid version in lieu of the real deal. He certainly sounds like Grant (so much so that you half suspect a dub job), but that distinctive voice comes from the body of gangly Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, son of Brendan, alumnus of Harry Potter,” adds The Guardian. “The effect, at first, is unnerving; as About Time marches on, Gleeson's innate charm gleams through and this weird disconnection becomes quite compelling.”
“Gleeson plays Tim, who is told at 21 that all male members of his family have been able to time travel. You just pop into a cupboard, or somewhere small and dark like the downstairs loo or the servants' quarters, clench your fists, imagine a time and place in your past, and bingo,” adds the report. “There are some quirks of course – some slightly moth-eaten logic about the effect that, say, having children has on your epoch-hopping abilities. But that's basically it.”
How does our hero choose to use his powers: for the search for love not money and what he achieves in the end is an extraordinarily ordinary life. “And, accordingly, Tim uses what might feel quite an earth-shattering skill to fry fairly small fish – primarily, to woo McAdams. They run into each other and hit it off, but Tim accidentally deletes that evening and so must engineer another meet-cute,” adds The Guardian..
According to The Guardian, some of the best chemistry is the repatiuonship of a father and son who are blessed and cursed with the same ability to travel back and forth in time. “There are bright points; a few awkward lines that give rise to big laughs, scenes of real tenderness between Gleeson and Nighy. You feel a true Scrooge balking at a movie message which urges you to make the most of every day, however humdrum it might appear.”
“But there's something grating about being instructed to do so by a character whose "ordinary little life" is objectively pretty minted, and who doesn't in fact need to make the most of every moment on account of perhaps the most screwy example of primogeniture you could ever imagine,” adds the review.
“Curtis's heart is in the right place. In fact, it's all over the place – front and centre and backlighting the whole thing with a benevolent glow. But it is hard not to watch this, read the news that it will probably be his last as a director, and look to the future,” adds The Guardian.
The Hollywood Reporter states that “Richard Curtis set the gold standard for transatlantic rom-coms over much of the last 20 years. The 56-year-old comedy veteran (Curtis) describes his third writer-director project as his most personal to date, but it still ticks plenty of familiar boxes.”
“The chief digressions here from the director’s established formula are a light twist of science fiction, and a lot more somber reflection on the value of love and family,” adds The Hollywood reporter. The ilm looks at relationships from the perspective of a character who seeks an ordinary life, despite owning extraordinary patterns.”
“This time, Curtis seems to be reaching for the philosophical depth and emotional clout of bittersweet magic-realist classics such as Groundhog Day or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” adds The Hollywood Reporter. (www.hollywoodreporter.com) “He (Curtis) falls short of both, but his ambition is still admirable. Not as charming as his best work, but not as cloying as his worst, About Time, received a modestly warm reception at its public premiere in London.”
“Commercial prospects will largely depend on whether the Curtis brand still packs the same platinum-plated punch as it did in more innocent times,” adds The Hollywood Reporter.
“Of course, Curtis made his international reputation writing the light-headed comedies Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill, later co-scripting major studio projects including Bridget Jones’s Diary and War Horse,” adds The Hollywood Reporter.
“But his move from writer to writer-director has not proved quite so smooth. While his jarringly schmaltzy 2003 debut Love, Actually was a commercial smash, Curtis came unstuck with his 2009 period comedy The Boat That Rocked -- retitled Pirate Radio in the U.S. -- which stiffed at the box office on both sides of the Atlantic,” adds The report.
Taking no chances,About Time finds Curtis returning to familiar domestic boy-meets-girl material.Harry Potter veteran Domnhall Gleeson stars as Tim, a charmingly geeky 21-year-old trainee lawyer who is painfully clumsy in matters of the heart -- in official film jargon, this is called "the Hugh Grant role,” adds The Hollywood eporter.
“Rachel McAdams co-stars as Mary, the ditzy expat American who becomes the object of Tim’s romantic attentions -- in other words, the Andie MacDowell/Julia Roberts role,” adds the report. “As ever, the backdrop is an anachronistic fantasy Britain with no discernible social or economic strife. As a shameless peddler of sunny picture-postcard cliches, Curtis is just a few steps behind late-period Woody Allen,” adds The Hollywood Reporter.
“Using his special powers, he transforms himself into her ideal partner by rewinding the clock every time he needs to correct ill-conceived remarks or messy misunderstandings,” adds The Hollywood Reporter.
Although lacking the romantic punch of Four Weddings and A Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actiually, the film delivers a small but powerful message. Sometimes an extraordinary life can be best realized in an ordinary existence. Becoming a successful husband and father may indeed be the biggest mystery of all. Staten Island art house fans, this is a small romantic comedy with a heart. Catch this little gem when it reaches The Unites States cinema in November. Four out of five time travels.