Richard Curtis matures with funny, moving About Time
Love Actually writer-director Curtis's new film adds moving family drama to his rom-com formula
What you need to know
Richard Curtis's new romantic comedy About Time opens at UK cinemas today. Writer-director Curtis is best known for his romantic comedy hits Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually.
In About Time, 21-year old Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he has the ability to travel in time to make changes in his life. With this family secret Tim sets about winning the heart of Mary (Rachel McAdams) but there are some problems even time travel can't solve.
Bill Nighy stars as Tim's father. With Richard E. Grant and the late Richard Griffiths.
What the critics like
This is Curtis's "most interesting, mature, profound and deeply moving movie", says Mark Dinning in Empire. It's smart, sweet, funny and features the most adorable romantic leading lady working today.
This is less a rom-com than a family drama about fathers and sons and "when Curtis allows these familial ties to shine, the film comes into its own", says Francesca Steel in The Independent. It's also the kind of relentlessly upbeat film that everyone, even the greatest of cynics, needs a dose of now and again.
"Gleeson makes an agreeably quirky leading man while Nighy lights up the screen with his alluringly louche charisma, as ever," says Stephen Dalton in the Hollywood Reporter. And there are enough laugh-out-loud moments to excuse the lurches into shameless sentimentality.
What they don't like
The film deals warmly with ideas of moving on and letting go, but still, the only genuinely moving scene comes from a cameo by the late, great Richard Griffiths, says Dave Calhoun in Time Out. This only "shows up the shallowness of much of the sentiment at play". ·