How many times have you wished you could turn back time and undo some gaffe, or do something you missed doing because you lacked the courage or spontaneity?

The initially skeptical Tim Lake (played by Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) finds he’s one of few lucky people who can actually do this. When he turned 21, his father (played by Bill Nighy) reveals to him that all the males in their family have the super power of time travel within their own lives.

The young lawyer’s embarrassingly depressing love life gets better than a Viagra boost when he experiments with his gift and manages to press the pause-rewind-replay buttons of his life, refining each romantic encounter to give him the best possible outcome.

As with romcoms Love Actually and Notting Hill, which were also createdby About Time’s director and writer Richard Curtis, there’s always at least 1 bumbling, socially awkward bloke from the United Kingdom, who inexplicably bags a hot American, or in this case Canadian, woman.

The hottie here is Rachel McAdams, as Mary, an introverted book publisher who is the beneficiary of Tim’s repeated time travelling just to perfect his lines to her just to convince her into thinking he’s the man of her dreams. She marries him and they have a family, all the while oblivious to all the background tweaks he’s putting in the make it as good a life as he can possibly engineer.

But as with Time Traveller’s Wife, which also starred McAdams, we see that there are still tragedies, losses and things that time travel can’t fix, and inescapable consequences of screwing with the “space-time continuum”, as the character of Doc Emmett Brown of Back to the Future  repeatedly said.

Tim is faced with the impossibility of going back to before his children were born after a terrifying attempt to change his sister’s timeline, due to the altering of his own timeline. He accepts this fact reluctantly and faces a huge dilemma when Mary pushes for a third child, thereby eliminating any chances of him meeting his dying father after the child’s born.

Scripting in a self-assured and relaxed father, a quiet yet strong mother (played by Lindsay Duncan), and a carefree and kooky sister (played by Lydia Wilson) to complete Tim, Curtis seems to have paid as much attention to the dynamics of this family, as he has to the romantic love between Mary and Tim. The crucial father-son relationship, coupled with the on-screen chemistry between Nighy and Gleeson, becomes the key takeaway of the movie, overshadowing Gleeson’s on-screen romantic partner, McAdams.

Granted, the film still has the usual elements that romantic comedies are notorious for – awkward boy meets girl, they fall in love … you get our point. What stops this film from turning into a 2-hour long lullaby is its lack of obsession with the couple, choosing to focus on Tim’s interactions with his family, utilizing these interactions to propel the plot.

The idea of time travel in what was set to look like yet another chick flick is undoubtedly fresh, and a good enough reason to catch the movie. However, the loopholes to the plot caused by Tim’s repeated time travel aren’t particularly hard to catch.

Handheld shots dominate the movie, probably with the intention of making the movie appear to be more personal and casual. These, however, are wholly unnecessary and only served to cause mild discomfort and fatigue.

This movie had an almost perfectly paced plot, save for scenes that only pandered to the palates of romcom lovers and fans of “shipping” (the belief that 2 people should be in a romantic relationship), but in spite of all this, these novel ideas are the movie’s saving graces, giving the viewer a fresh perspective to both time travel and romance.

Rating: 3.5/5
Release Date: Oct 10
Runtime: 123 minutes
Language: English
Censorship Rating: NC-16
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Science-fiction
Director: Richard Curtis
Main Actors: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson, Lindsay Duncan