You need to watch the most underrated time travel movie before it leaves Netflix next week
“Live life as if there are no second chances”
There’s nothing like a good love story. The romance genre is one of the oldest out there, but it can always be reinvented with a sci-fi twist. Maybe a man falls in love with an AI program, or a woman falls in love with a building, or two people fall in love after erasing each other from their memories.
But the most daunting and complex sci-fi love stories are probably the ones involving time travel. The combination of time and love can get messy — just ask Marty McFly. This 2013 movie uses a whimsical device to paint a truly emotional story; here’s why you should watch it on Netflix before it’s too late.
About Time is directed and written by Richard Curtis, the mind behind classic rom-coms like Love Actually, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and Four Weddings and a Funeral. It stars Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars’ Admiral Hux) as Tim, a young man who discovers he can travel through time with pure willpower.
His dad (an always charming Bill Nighy) tells him the power is genetic, and Tim immediately uses it to fix minor complications in his life. Sometimes, however, there are no easy fixes. When his sister invites a pretty girl over for the summer, he tries to make a move on the girl’s last night, only for her to wish that he spoke up earlier. When he goes back in time and does just that, she suggests they wait until her final night.
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Through encounters like these, Tim learns you can’t force someone to love you. But when he moves to London and meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), he has no issues with going back in time and making sure the encounter goes as smoothly as possible. The first two acts are dedicated to this sweet romance, but the third takes a dramatic turn, especially for a sentimental filmmaker like Curtis.
As Tim and Mary grow into a life together, he realizes his time travel powers may not have Butterfly Effected so far, but once children get involved there are all sorts of interference. Basically, if Tim changes his past, he may return to find an entirely different child when he returns.
About Time is more than just a love story. It’s about living in the past, dwelling on your mistakes, and saying goodbye to what you have to in order to move on with your life. It’s also a unique take on a common sci-fi trope. So many time travel stories have vast political or metaphysical consequences, but About Time focuses on the social and emotional side.
Which makes sense, really. If you were suddenly granted the ability to travel to moments in your life, would you try to prevent world tragedies, or would try to improve your personal life? Of course, Tim uses his power to try and catch the one who got away. It’s human nature.
About Time is streaming on Netflix until April 15.