Richard Curtis’s About Time is a poignant and heart-warming romantic comedy about falling in love, taking chances and shaping your own future. When Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) turns 21, his father (Bill Nighy) tells him that the men in their family can travel in time, although they can’t change history. So his father advises Tim to use his power to create the life that he truly wants. At first, Tim tries to relive specific situations to make his sister’s beautiful friend Charlotte (Margot Robbie) fall in love with him. But she fails to fall for him, no matter how he uses his power.
Tim moves to London and stays at his Uncle Harry’s (Tom Hollander) house. He meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) on a blind date and immediately falls for her. They swap details so they can see each other again. But after using his power to change history and help his uncle, Tim realises that Mary’s phone number has gone from his phone and that the blind date didn’t take place in reality. Tim travels back in time to meet Mary again, and they fall quickly in love with one another.
Although Tim’s life with Mary and their daughter is perfect for quite some time, he eventually learns that his father has terminal cancer. Tim travels back in time after his father’s death to extend their time together. But Mary falls pregnant with their second child, and Tim realises that he has to put an end to time-travelling.
Love and romance; family; time travel; fate; death and illness; marriage
About Time has limited violence. For example:
- Tim gets hit in the back of the head and bottom with a tennis ball, while playing tennis with his sister Kitkat and her friend Charlotte.
- Kitkat is in hospital after a car crash. There are some bruises and cuts on her face, and she says she wasn’t completely sober at the time of the incident.
- Kitkat punches her ex-boyfriend in the face after she travels back in time with Tim. She changes her future by choosing a different path.
About Time has some sexual references. For example:
- Tim’s Uncle Harry points to a picture in his living room, and tells Tim, ‘That’s my daughter. Have sex with her if you like. Apparently everyone else has’.
- Tim asks Mary to describe a friend of hers, and she jokingly says, ‘She’s basically a prostitute’.
- After Harry’s play gets bad reviews, Tim suggests he might be able to help. Harry asks, ‘What are you going to do? Offer every critic in London a blowjob?’
- Mary lets Tim into her house after their date, and says, ‘I’m going to go into the bedroom and put on my new PJs. And in a minute, you can come in and take them off’.
- Mary’s parents arrive at her house unexpectedly, and Mary tells Tim that her parents don’t know she and Tim are in a serious relationship yet. Tim asks Mary, ‘Are we having sex?’ This leads to a couple of more explicit and awkward conversations.
- Tim and his friend Rory are talking about Charlotte. Rory says, ‘She’s so beautiful that if you had sex with her, you’d die. You’d open her shirt and see her breasts and explode’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
About Time shows some use of substances. For example:
- At a New Year’s Eve party, people hold beers and other alcoholic beverages. They seem quite intoxicated.
- Harry pours himself wine while standing in his apartment and speaking to Tim.
- Tim and Mary share a glass of wine over dinner.
Nudity and sexual activity
About Time has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Tim’s sister Kitkat and her friend Charlotte wear bikinis.
- After travelling back in time to a New Year’s Eve party, Tim kisses a nearby girl passionately.
- Tim and Mary have sex three times, as he rewinds time to do things better each time.
- Mary takes off one item of clothing for every wedding-related decision that Tim makes, and ends up in her underwear.
Nothing of concern
About Time has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
About Time is a charming movie about love, loss and living in the moment. Coarse language and sexual references make it unsuitable for children and younger teenagers, but it has plenty to interest and entertain people aged 15 years and over.
Tim’s journey reflects the basic human desire to connect with another individual who accepts you unconditionally and who can be your partner in every aspect of life. Although the movie uses the fantasy concept of time travel, it’s ultimately about the importance of making the right choices to shape your life and making the most of life.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- living each day to the fullest
- never giving up when you want something passionately, even when there are obstacles in your way
- always being open to new opportunities and possibilities.
About Time could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as how:
- you can’t force another person to fall in love with you
- our actions affect the lives of people around us
- you have to compromise in a relationship, and talk openly and honestly about issues such as getting married and having children
- happiness and life satisfaction don’t come from being rich
- a family might struggle while mourning a loved one.