A time-traveling hero. A relationship complicated by that gift. Rachel McAdams. We’re experiencing a little deja vu.
On paper, the upcoming Richard Curtis romance has more than a little in common with the 2009 drama The Time Traveler’s Wife. About Time stars Brit Domhnall Gleeson (that’s Bill Weasley to you, Harry Potter fanatics) as a young man who learns that the men in his family have the ability to move through time. It’s not an unlimited range, however. Basically his talents allow him to relive a moment that’s just passed, the dream of anyone who’s ever stuck his foot in his mouth at a party. Imagine what you could do with that kind of power — you could improve your career, your friendships, your Candy Crush score — but for Tim, it’s all about getting girls. One girl in particular, of course. This is a romantic comedy, after all.
Is McAdams a secret sci-fi geek? Because she seems to be drawn to romances where her love interest is a one-man time machine. The Time Traveler’s Wife was based on a book of the same name, though the film smoothed out the edges that made it more than your average romance novel. The source material hummed with tension; there was danger inherent in Henry’s tendency to pop back and forth from present to past to future. In fact, his travel is treated more like a disease, since he can’t control it. The movie toned down the underlying menace in favor of making another rosy-tinted, Nicholas Sparks-ian romance.
But now, we have another chance to get the romantic fantasy we deserve. About Time has the benefit of being an original screenplay, so there’s no novel with fans to disappoint. It’s got a charming, relatively unknown lead. (Forgive us, but Eric Bana was miscast in The Time Traveler’s Wife.) It’s got Bill Nighy, who elevates everything he’s in. And it’s got good buzz from the festival circuit. It may be our last date with romantic comedy guru Curtis, who claims that he’s retiring from the meet-cute business. In their review of his latest and last, Den of Geek says, “there are few storytellers, never mind filmmakers, who can view the everyday passions of ordinary folk with such an unending fascination and earnest optimism.” Can he add a science fiction element to that mix without losing any charm? We’ll find out when About Time hits U.S. theaters on November 8.