By Chloe Cordon
“a 2013 British romantic comedy-drama film about a young man with the special ability to time travel who tries to change his past in order to improve his future.” – Wikipedia
I don’t do rom-coms. Ever. They bore the hell out of me and they make me sad that Hugh Grant isn’t in love with me. I don’t even like Hugh Grant. He’s not even a little bit good looking. His forehead looks like it’s slipped down and is starting to impair his vision. Anyway, I don’t like rom-coms, so naturally when I thought about watching a film I wouldn’t normally, it was the first genre that came to mind. I went to my authority on romantic comedy, my dad (he’ll kill me if he ever reads this. Either that or pout and say “I’m just in touch with my feminine side”), and he recommended About Time. Now I’ve been saving this joke up since I put myself through watching the film. This film. It’s a film, and it’s about time.
Doesn’t it sound sweet, in the above description I nicked from Wiki? It’s not. He uses his magical time-travelling capabilities for the creepiest, most manipulative purposes, basically stalking a girl he spent a night in a dark room with – creepy in itself – who actually, God bless her, expressly shows that she’s freaked out by him on numerous occasions, but that doesn’t stop selfish Tim, ohhhh no, if only it could. He goes back in time, time and time again, and forces her to go on a date with him. Every time he messes up, he literally asks her what would make it better, then goes and gets in his little cupboard (he has to be in a dark place to time travel), where he should bloody well stay if you ask me, hops back in time, and does exactly what she said. No imagination. No personal flourishes. And it works.
But so many rules are broken. The two basic rules of time travel, as explained to Tim the time-travelling tyrant, by his father on his 21st birthday, are roughly as follows:
- Only male family members can time travel.
- You can only travel back in time, not forward.
But we know Tim well enough by now. Tim doesn’t play by the rules. He doesn’t get the girl by being a decent, nice, kind, loving person. No. Tim manipulates reality in the most selfish ways to make things ok for him. Sci-fi fans the world over are tutting and shaking their heads collectively as Tim steps into his cubby-hole with his sister. We’re all sat around thinking “nah, this won’t work. Girls can’t time travel, remember?” when she only goes and bloody time travels. That’s rule number one out the window. What about rule number two? HE TRAVELS FORWARDS IN TIME THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE FILM. He’s forever going back to change something, then hopping back to the start again. At one point Tim and his dad go back to a day on the beach when Tim was but a small child. It’s adorable, really, but I’m sure he doesn’t live his whole life again, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, adulthood, back to where he made it last time. Nope, he definitely travels forwards in time.
So after Tim’s made a right mess of practically everything but his love life, the holy grail of all existence, am I right? Anyway, after Tim’s made a right mess of practically everything he goes for a chat with his dad who tells him the secret to happiness. I’m like; “come on dad why didn’t you just tell him this straight away?” But I’m also excited. I like secrets. I want to hear it. It’s decidedly underwhelming.
Tim: “And so he told me his secret formula for happiness. Part one of the two part plan was that I should just get on with ordinary life, living it day by day, like anyone else. But then came part two of Dad’s plan. He told me to live every day again almost exactly the same. The first time with all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing. Okay, Dad. Let’s give it a go.”
Now as much as I didn’t enjoy this film, I’m going to try to take something away from it, and this is it. I can’t live my days twice. So I’ll try to live all of them as Tim lives his second day. To notice all the things that makes the world a great place to be. God, I’ve had enough of all this soppy shit.