Well, I enjoyed About Time—and when I said something to that effect on Twitter after the screening this week, a bunch of people responded in disbelief. "The trailer was so awful!" they said. (Tweeted.)
Having now watched the trailer, I agree: the film that trailer is advertising looks derivative and dull, a disappointment for writer/director Richard Curtis. This is the man who wrote Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Love Actually (which he directed, too), plus a bunch of episodes of Black Adder and Mr. Bean and even the screenplay for the much-celebrated War Horse. So why, you might be justified in asking, would he be making something that looks to be some kind of cross between The Notebook and a more maudlin About a Boy?
Thankfully, About Time is only loosely based on its trailer. In fact, it's not a romantic comedy at all. There is romance and comedy, to be sure, plenty of both. But it's got a bit more substance at its core, and is just good-hearted enough to sidestep tired rom-com (and time-travel) tropes.
We meet our hero, Tim Lake (Domnhall Gleeson, who played Bill Weasley in the final Harry Potter installments), not long after his twenty-first birthday. Tim leads a happy life. His father (the magnificent Bill Nighy) retired early from his teaching job to spend more time with Tim and his free-spirited little sister they call Kit Kat. Along with Tim's mother and uncle, the family takes tea on the beach every day, watches movies together on Friday nights in the garden, and seems to genuinely love being together.
Tim, like many a lanky 21-year-old, is still awkward around girls, and the morning after one particularly cringe-y New Year's Eve party (at which Tim chummily ...