Friday, November 1, 2013
Let's face it, most romance films are too schmaltzy and cliche. So how can you make one that stands out and be appealing to men as well as women? Well, you can add quirky dry British comedy, poignant drama, and maybe even time travel? Oh, and make it just about perfect.
Domhnall Gleeson stars as a man who learns something life changing on his 21st birthday when his dad, played by the inimitable Bill Nighy, reveals to him that the men in his family all have the gift of time travel. They can go back in time to repeat certain actions and events they wish they could change. (Don't we all wish we could do that?) And with that nugget of information, he begins the process of steering his life in a better direction, which includes falling in love with Rachel McAdams.
First off, I have to give this film credit for originality. I can't say I've seen anything quite like it. I found it enjoyable from the very beginning, but yet it didn't entirely pull me in on my first viewing until towards the end, when there are some terrific moments of poignancy. And in fact it wasn't until my second viewing that I fully appreciated how brilliantly nuanced the performances are, and how deeply heartfelt the final product and its message is. (And ordinarily message laden films make me gag.) Bill Nighy is just about the greatest on screen personality so if you don't know him by name, or haven't yet fully embraced his greatness, I'd say it's about time.
(Slight spoiler alert below ...)
Ironically I failed at the film's central theme: to appreciate each and every moment fully as it is happening. Fortunately, similar to the men in this story, I got a chance to relive this experience and appreciated it all the more on my second time around.
(End of spoiler)
Having seen it twice now, and loving it completely and thoroughly on my second viewing, I can say that I don't think it's getting nearly enough acclaim by other critics. Do yourself a favor and see this movie. And ideally see it with someone you love.