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Despite being advertised as a romantic movie, the real focus is on the relationship between brother and sister, as well as son and dad.
Review (with Spoilers)
For me, the main draw was seeing “From the creator of Love Actually” on the poster, as well as seeing Bill Nighy and Rachel McAdams’ name attached. Add on that this seemed like a cute sci-fi love story and I was even more entranced. However, upon seeing the film I must say I do feel a bit tricked.
Cast and Story
The film focuses on a young man named Tim (played by Domhnall Gleeson) who comes off as a sort of loser when we meet him. However, upon his father, played by Bill Nighy, revealing that the men in their family can time travel, things look like they could pick up. However, upon moving to London, things don’t seem to be going well for him as he lives with his father’s friend Harry (played by Tom Hollander) who is a brilliant writer but also a butt hole, and sadly his little sister Kit Kat (played by Lydia Wilson) isn’t doing so well either.
But, what Tim does have going for him is a job as a lawyer, but it is at a firm which doesn’t respect him or partner Rory (played by Joshua McGuire), who is such a sweetheart, all that much. However, thanks to his old friend Jay (played by Will Merrick – known for generation 3 of Skins, to me anyway), he meets the love of his life: Mary (played by Rachel McAdams).
Which leads to a rather sped up relationship which quickly establishes them as a couple as the movie moves on to the true focus: Tim’s family. Specifically Nighy as the eccentric dad, and little sis Kit Kat who is the equally eccentric daughter. For most of the movie, Mary is more so there to support Tim as he deals with the troubles of a sister who isn’t really prepared for adulthood, and a father whose mortality is becoming more apparent thus leading to a movie which may not be romantic, but can be a tear jerker.
Which, to me, saved this movie. The family ties are written so well that you can forgive being duped. Kit Kat, is lovable, zany, and truly hard to not root for during her struggles. Then, with Nighy’s character, he makes you think of your relationship with your own father and you almost feel like Tim. Reminiscing over the good times, trying to avoid the bad, and trying to relive those moments which soon will only exist in your own memories.
Also, I felt the use of Tim, and Nighy’s character, use of their time travel ability was used just right. Often times it was used to fix an awkward or unsatisfying moment which was usually built into a joke. However, there were also times when the reason wasn’t selfish in the sense where they are trying to make the situation perfect. Tim uses the gift to help Harry’s play be perfect and Nighy’s character, who is simply known as dad, uses it to make the perfect toast for his son’s wedding. Then there is one time, specifically, which there isn’t a minor sacrifice, but something which would lead to major a change in Tim’s life by changing the past. And I have to say I appreciated that, at least once, they really showed that this power had the ability to flip his life and they made Tim make a hard decision about using said power.
Which leads to my sole criticism, which is the romantic movie sold in the trailer is weak. For one, the romance is rushed and afterwards, it is easy not to care. For one, once he gets the information he needs to be with Mary, there is no challenge anymore. Basically, he screws up a few times to establish the relationship, and once it is done, it is done. There is no real build, trials or tribulations, or anything which makes you fall in love with them. In a way, it feels so fated that it is like they were an established couple from the beginning. But, this isn’t to say they aren’t cute together and that Rachel McAdams loses that sort of Meg Ryan in the 90s appeal i.e. she seems like she can be anyone’s love interest and make it work. If anything, the problem is that you are forced to adapt to a story you weren’t sold on watching for 2 hours.
Overall: Worth Seeing
Though I felt a bit like I was sold on one thing and given something else, I didn’t feel jipped. For, while I didn’t get a cute romantic movie featuring Rachel McAdams, I did get to see a beautifully done movie about family ties. One which truly made me cry; laugh a dozen, or so, times; and made me think that they could have easily advertised the movie for what it is and still have gotten my money. This is why I think it is worth watching. You may not get a strong romance between man and woman, but you still do see a cute and fun setup to it, and the relationship isn’t bad, just not the focal point you expect it to be. However, to compensate, the film does a good job at showing the interdependency of family, from wanting to be the dad your own dad wasn’t; loving a family member no matter how odd, or off, they are; and being there for someone when they are drowning and are seemingly at the point where perhaps fighting for air doesn’t seem worth the effort anymore. This film gives you a true look at the importance of family and how that importance, and love, extends to extended family.