Written and directed by Richard Curtis
Clever, funny and beautifully poignant
Richard Curtis is celebrated for his authentically British films, achieving previous acclaim for ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral,’ ‘Notting Hill’ and ‘Love Actually’. In his latest production he explores the complexity of human relationships with a uniquely charming and humorous story. A romantic comedy with time travel sounds risky. But it works. The characters are beautifully observed, the scenery inspiring (the film was shot in London and Cornwall) and script well written. In fact some of the lead characters lines are quite poetic. There are also some very potent moments which seem to dwell on the inevitability of life.
Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young man, struggling to adjust to life beyond his eccentric family and their Cornish home. Too tall, too thin, too orange. His father’s revelation that the men in their family can time travel offers him the chance to fix his life. But with his gift and a new life in the city, comes a host of difficult decisions and he soon realises that even time travel can’t fix life’s bigger problems.
Tim is a loveable character who shares his father’s (Bill Nighy) dry wit and good nature. The bond between them is immediately evident and this becomes the chief focus for much of the film. Nighy plays the father role with ease, soft spoken and humorous, his love for his family is evident.
‘Kit Kat’ Tim’s bohemian sister (played by Lydia Wilson), with her ‘Elfin eyes’ and ‘eternally bare feet’ seems unconcerned of the harsh realities of life, moving from job to job and settling for a toxic boyfriend. But problems lurk underneath her calm, spaced-out exterior.
Tom Hollander plays Tim’s dad’s playwright friend who Tim stays with in London. Bad tempered, foul mouthed and alcoholic, he proves a challenge to live with.
Uncle Desmond (played by Richard Cordery) provides the comic interlude during the more dramatic scenes. Scatty and forgetful, he spends most of the film unaware of the events unfolding around him. But his lines are beautifully placed and raise a smile in otherwise sad circumstances.
Mary (Rachel McAdams) is the shy, self conscious book reader, who Tim literally chases through time to meet. Putting others before himself, he misses out on opportunities for his own happiness, to a point where it’s almost too late. His effort to amend countless bad impressions and misunderstandings results in hilarious consequences. McAdams and Gleeson have a beautiful chemistry together.
The character interaction, as with all of Curtis’ films, is the key focus of the film. The mixture of known and unknown actors works well. The scenes are original and authentic, such as the dining in the dark experience where Tim first meets Mary. Also the wedding scene where guests become victim to typically British weather, and flee the church to the dramatic sounds of IL Mundo. This actually produced tears of laughter amongst the audience.
The soundtrack continues the British theme and includes a lot of 80’s/90’s music such as The cure ‘Friday I’m in Love,’ Sugarbabes ‘Push the Button’ and The Killers ‘Mr Bright Side’. But there are also some original songs such as Ellie Golding’s ‘How long will I love you’ and a special version of ‘The Luckiest’ by Ben folds.
Curits has, once again, given us a uniquely British feel good film, with laughter, tears and some magical moments. The audience will be challenged not to leave the cinema feeling uplifted and inspired.