When this movie finished, I went into the cinema toilet – and cried my eyes out.
On his 21st birthday, Tim’s father takes him aside and tells him a secret.. that he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. However, his decision to use this power to get himself a girlfriend turns out not as easy as you might think…
Firstly, I must say the casting was splendid. Throwing an American actress like Rachel McAdams amongst the likes of British actors Bill Nighy and Lindsay Duncan tossed this salad of a movie brilliantly. A traditional London setting (namely Maida Vale) blended with the serenity of Cornwall was our setting, and although slightly messy (as I imagine time travel would be) the feature moved with a nice fluidity.
The only downside to the character ensemble was Kit Kat – Tim’s irritating sister. The actress summed up your classic ‘hippy girl from the West Country’ perfectly. One scene sees her (possibly drugged up with natural herbs) run at Mary, pounce on her and start pecking at her like some sort of obsessive cat. (but then lets think about it, most girls from the West Country are rather irritating like this – thinking the organic clothing & headpieces they wear are cool, when actually, they look and come across like fucking idiots)
So our main man is Tim – and he wants a girlfriend. Which is why its fortunate, that on a night out pioneered by his best friend, he ends up in a fancy London restaurant where he encounters Mary – a sweet young thing with a “fringe”. However, upon his return home, Tim’s housemate Harry is in a state – dramatically throwing a strop, he wails about how the opening night of his new theatre production was swiftly brought to a close, thanks to the lead actor forgetting his lines, and subsequently seizing up. “I can fix it” Tim announces to Harry. “How?!” Harry cries..
Once we’re thrown back in time a few hours and Tim steps into the actor’s dressing room to remind him to go over his lines, the production is saved – the actor’s error is undone. Pleased with himself, Tim exits the theatre and pulls his phone from his pocket to call Mary, and – FUCK.
He never met Mary. The exact moment he met her, he was at the theatre saving his housemate’s career.. There is no ‘Mary’ in his phone book. She doesn’t exist. By fixing up an error done, he undone something that was done! Fortunately for Tim, he remembers where Mary said she’s going to be the following day, so he heads down to the Kate Moss museum to force ‘bumping into’ her. And he does – only to find that by changing history, he changed Mary’s fate. She introduces Tim to Jimmy – her new boyfriend.
The movie continues with Tim managing to pop back in time to a party, where Mary met Jimmy, so Tim can meet her instead. And the comedy moments keep rolling as he time-travels to undo the worst wedding speech, change his marriage proposal, be better at the couple’s first night of love making, and to also change the entire messed-up life of his scatty alcoholic sister (by undoing the meeting between her and the boy she met who got her into drinking in the first place)
About Time is very sad, emotional. Because we’ve all seen time travel done before; excited people jumping into a machine to visit dinosaurs, or Doctor Who’s amazing blue box whisking its occupants into colourful new galaxies of brilliance. But this time, its a young man who just wants himself and the people around him to be happy. And this has to be the most endearing element of the movie – he doesn’t want to travel back to when he was a toddler to repeat a magical Christmas, or go back to school to change exam grades – its not about that. Its about fixing something, changing it ever so slightly to make the world (or his own world) a better place.
One scene towards the end of the movie sees Tim ‘pop back’ to various situations in his life, to live them out how they should have been lived I.E. a heated meeting with his boss changes from Tim anxiously on-edge, to a relaxed Tim, making comedic visual insults at his manager secretly to his colleagues. And another situation where he and a colleague are running to a meeting – and (changing it) Tim suddenly stops to admire the beauty of the ancient court that they work in.
Its the message the film sends to its viewers, and how it develops which hits home. And now we come to the part of the film that tore me apart…
Tim and Mary are happy, and have started a family. But one day, Tim gets a phone call from his mother who brings sad news – news which no amount of time-travelling will be able to undo..
And that’s all you’re getting.
Sorry people, but I won’t give away the final stages of this film. I will however, state that after all the time travel Tim experiences to secure a life with Mary, you’d have thought tragedy would strike the pair – something would happen to one of them. But there is actually an under-current to the film, which we return to at the end. And its very emotional.
This part of Tim’s story sees his heart break, and he travels back in time to try and fix the fate of the character in question – but can’t. There are some things which just aren’t mean’t to be fixed. And the precious last moments he steals to be with them are running out.
Fast-forward just over 1 minute, and my eyes were stinging. During the “final goodbye” scene, I realised I had tears streaming down my face. And as the credits rolled, I gathered my belongings, exited the auditorium, entered the cinema toilets – and burst into tears, head in my hands.
About Time is a reminder, a message. It uses science fiction to portray non-fiction and is a perfect blend of reasoning. With pleasure comes pain, where one door closes another opens, and sometimes in life we have to say goodbye even though we’d give anything to go back and grab one last minute..
Its not a case of “live every day as if its your last” – Christ, could you imagine that, how expensive and exhausted you’d be at the end of every day!? Clearly the person who invented this notion didn’t live in the real world and pissed off their neighbours regularly. No-one should live every day like its their last – ever. Because its not logical or realistic. (or financially viable)
People should simply live every day appreciating what they have.
And enjoy the time they have with it.
(For those of you who don’t find it as emotional at the end – I think this might be because I recently experienced exactly the same loss in my own life. I’m such a soppy thing)