(Today’s final NaPoWriMo prompt of the month was for a poem about something that happens over and over. Following the theme of this time-travel charmer, I applied that to the hypothetical potential of living life repeatedly.)
Days and weeks and months repeat,
The same in name but each one new,
But wouldn’t it be quite the treat
To start them over and redo?
When in the mood for favorite foods,
Just think back to your grandest meal,
And when your second course concludes,
You’re free for thirds whene’er you feel.
When life becomes mundane or glum,
Just jump back to your fondest thrill,
A theme park ride or concert’s thrum
Or Wordsworth-worthy daffodil.
And how sought-after to rewind
To change regrets to words unsaid,
Slips untripped and frauds declined,
And dominoes unplummeted!
The twists and weaves of life one-way
Are seldom smooth to navigate,
But wouldn’t life, upon replay,
Have less distress to complicate?
MPAA rating: R (except for 5 F-words, there’s little reason this couldn’t be PG-13)
Rachel McAdams must have a thing for time travelers. Only four years after playing the titular Time Traveler’s Wife opposite Eric Bana, she again fell in love with a man possessing inherent time-traveling abilities, this time Domhnall Gleeson, in 2013’s About Time. Whereas the first film was bittersweet drama, About Time takes its subject in a lighter rom-com direction; for instance, the time-jumping ability that was random and uncontrollable in The Time Traveler’s Wife is little more than a super-powered perk in About Time, an inherited trait for only the men in the Lake family.
When Tim Lake (Gleeson) is called into his father’s study on his twenty-first birthday to be told a family secret, I can think of many worse revelations than being told you can now travel back along your own lifetime. Being rather awkward, one of Tim’s first thoughts is to win himself a girlfriend with his newfound ability, and after a less than successful attempt with the lovely Margot Robbie, he moves to London and seeks out his soul mate. All of this is done with a delightful comedic touch that makes Tim and his eccentric family feel real and lovable, and when Mary (McAdams) comes on the scene via a winsomely literal “blind date,” it’s clear from the first moments that love is inevitable…as long as time travel doesn’t get in the way.
I can’t remember the last time I was so thoroughly charmed by a movie. Well, maybe I do; it was probably La La Land, which is a more prestigious film all around, but both of them left me smiling and touched in a way most modern films don’t anymore. The repartee and chemistry between Tim and Mary put them up there with my favorite screen couples, even apart from the time travel aspect, which often adds some comedic wish fulfillment, undoing those little gaffes we all want to live over. In addition to Gleeson and McAdams, Bill Nighy delivers both warmth and pathos as Tim’s more experienced father, and his fellow Pirates of the Caribbean bad guy, Tom Hollander (almost unrecognizable with a beard), is likably sardonic as Tim’s first London friend.
As much as I loved it, I won’t claim that About Time is without flaws, such as a poorly explained revision that Tim performs when one of his time-altering good intentions goes awry. Likewise, I’ve heard a common complaint that the film doesn’t follow its own time travel rules and pays less attention than others of its genre to continuity and the butterfly effect. Yet, even these issues that would normally annoy me (like in The Lake House) couldn’t detract from a highly enjoyable romance or its bittersweet denouement. It’s a smartly written and delightful story worth going back in time to watch all over again.
Best line: (Tim) “There’s a song by Baz Luhrmann called ‘Sunscreen.’ He says worrying about the future is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life will always be things that never crossed your worried mind.”
© 2017 S.G. Liput
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