If you ever ask me for a feel-good movie recommendation, I’m going to respond, “Have you seen About Time?” It’s the onscreen version of comfort food: warm, cozy, and only slightly cheesy, as any movie (or meal) should be. Thankfully, the 2013 film is now on Netflix, for your immediate streaming pleasure.
About Time follows a young man, Tim, through the most pivotal moments of his life as he also navigates his family’s ability to time travel. Sounds supernatural enough, but a science fiction adventure it is not. In fact, Tim uses this “power” to fulfill an ordinary life: he finds love, he gets married, he pursues a career, he and his wife have children. The Richard Curtis film strikes a similarly charming tone to its cousins, Love Actually and Notting Hill. I would argue About Time leaves you with greater emotional pay-off in the end.
The movie’s fantastic writing is only improved by its incredible cast. Yes, I’m talking about Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Nighy, as well as the actors who’ve since seen an explosion of fame, like Margot Robbie and Vanessa Kirby. They kept this story of red dress weddings and tea by the sea from becoming saccharine, and instead make the film’s quirkiness beautifully relatable.
The soundtrack matches every peak and valley of the plotline. From “Friday I’m in Love” to “Back to Black” and the ever-iconic “Il Mondo,” I still go back to this tracklist when I’m in need of a pick-me-up. True story: I was this close to choosing “How Long Will I Love You?” for my wedding first dance.
Make no mistake, About Time isn’t perfect. I wish Tim was slightly less creepy with the way he uses his abilities. (Does he need to stalk Mary after their first date? Probably not.) I wish the leading cast was more diverse. I wish the women in his family inherited the same time travel talents. If I could go back in time, there are definitely some things I would change. That said, I embrace this movie, flaws and all, because it gave me peace during a hard time.
I first watched About Time on a tiny laptop screen in my college dorm room on my extra-long twin bed. I was 18 and struggling with homesickness, seasonal depression, and anxiety. Tim’s love story gave me hope for the future. His bond with his parents made me appreciate my own. His sister’s carefree attitude encouraged me to take life less seriously . And perhaps most importantly, his courage in the face of life’s inevitabilities led me to abandon my own comfort zone — with the help of much-needed therapy. I chose to step outside my cinderblock walls, take a deep breath, and ask my now-best friend, “Hey, have you seen About Time?”
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