Turning back the clock with About Time

#2 in the Dysfunctional Williams Family’s epic attempt to watch all 367 movies in our iTunes library over the course of the next year was About Time.

We have several family favourites that score quite low on the Rotten Tomatoes index and this is one of them, rating just 68% (which is a bit bizarre in our opinion, and down to critics’ Richard Curtis snobbery more than the quality of the film, we suspect).

About Time has Domhnall Gleeson in it, as do most movies. I have a love/hate relationship with Domhnall—I think I hate him, but then I realise I don’t. He is perhaps the most prolific ginger on the planet, so there’s that. Even so, there’s simply no excuse at all for having him in the Star Wars movies.

It also has Rachel McAdams in it. It’s fair to say I will watch anything that has Rachel McAdams in it. Mean Girls. Spotlight. The Hot Chick. Everything except The Notebook. That’s my red line. She’s particularly enthralling in About Time, even when she’s asleep. No one does waking up from sleep better than Rachel McAdams.

It also has Bill Nighy. Another family favourite. He’s also a Richard Curtis staple. Curtis and Nighy are together responsible for one of the greatest lines in cinema history (“Let’s get pissed and watched porn,” from Love Actually—thanks fellas).

The least favourite part of About Time for me is the very thing that generates the narrative—the time travel. I love the idea, but even after having seen the film more than a dozen times I am still perplexed by the concurrent and conflicting timelines of the time-travelling father and son. I just can’t make sense of it … ARRRRRGH!

The rest of the family don’t share that concern. Last night, they enjoyed the movie blissfully unaware of my internal wrestle with quantum physics. Olivia loves About Time and thinks Domhnall Gleeson is the cutest thing in movies. Esther started crying about five minutes in and didn’t stop until the credits. When she cries her face goes red as if she’s been stung by bees. It happens every time.

Favourite moment of the night for me: midway through the movie, Esther says, ‘They keep repeating this music—couldn’t they afford another song?’ To which I was able to explain that in a movie about time and the reliving of life events in a recurring manner, the repetition of a piece of music in the score is a subliminal device that reinforces the circularity of the narrative. By which time no one was listening. If only I could turn back the clock and try again.

As with all Richard Curtis movies, there is only one message in About Time. It’s this: Live every day as if you had lived it already and were trying to do it better (something like that). In other words, don’t waste moments that you’ll never get back again. Do it better the first time around.

I like this idea. And I like watching About Time because it reminds me to be intentional about it.

Live each moment as if it’s full of significance … because it is.

Tonight’s movie: The Accountant.

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