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Following yet another uneventful New Year's Eve Party, 21-year-old Tim learns a life-changing secret from his father. It seems that the men in Tim's family possess the unique ability to travel in time by simply entering a dark space, clenching their fists, and imaging the place they want to be. Armed with this knowledge, Tim decides to leave rural Cornwall behind and move to London to become a lawyer, and in the process, find love. All seems to be going well when he meets and falls for the dazzling Mary, using his newfound abilities to help win the day. But when a mishap in the time travelling manoeuvre threatens his future happiness, Tim soon comes to realise that, above all else, it's how you live your life in the present that really matters.
For more about About Time and the About Time Blu-ray release, see About Time Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on March 12, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Richard Curtis (I)
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Domhnall Gleeson, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie, Lydia Wilson
» See full cast & crew
About Time Blu-ray Review
The best film of 2013 you haven't seen...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, March 12, 2014
About Time so defies genre convention, so brazenly overturns the apple cart, it would be a disservice to label it a mere romantic comedy, or even a sci-fi rom-com. It's so much more. What begins as a fairly standard romantic romp flirting with time travel quickly reveals itself to be a masterfully constructed, beautifully crafted light-hearted meditation on life, loss and love so touching and poignant I'm not quite sure where to start. It not only took me by complete and total surprise -- at least every ten minutes, in fact -- it frequently sent me into fits of laughter, left me marveling at its frank and earnest honesty, brought me to tears on more than one occasion and, once the credits rolled, sent me scurrying from friend to friend, filmfan to filmfan, spreading the name of one of the most wonderfully unpredictable, emotionally engrossing dramedies I've seen in some time. It deserves more attention and a larger following than it's ever likely to receive.
Following yet another uneventful New Year's Eve Party, 21-year-old Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) learns a life-changing secret from his father (Bill Nighy). It seems that the men in Tim's family possess the unique ability to travel in time by simply entering a dark space, clenching their fists, and imaging the place they want to be. Armed with this knowledge, Tim decides to leave rural Cornwall behind and move to London to become a lawyer, and in the process, find love. All seems to be going well when he meets and falls for a woman named Mary (Rachel McAdams), using his newfound abilities to help win her heart. But when a mishap made in his time travels threatens his future happiness, Tim soon realizes that, above all else, it's how you live your life in the present that really matters.
Despite my love of the film (and the gushing praise that's about to follow), let me be clear: About Time isn't going to resonate with everyone. Certainly not as much as it has with me. Some will dismiss it as cute but trite. Others will scoff at the first thirty minutes of the story, assuming writer/director Richard Curtis' playfulness and genre tinkering to be the wide swings of a ninety-pound featherweight. Those who remain invested, though, will soon discover exactly what Curtis is up to. About Time rarely follows the rules. Tim and Mary never have a falling out. There's never that moment when she uncovers some dreadful secret he has to undo to salvage their connection. The two fall in love and never fall out. That isn't a spoiler, mind you; it's the stage Curtis sets. His "rom-com" isn't about romance or the comedy romance invites at all. The Love Actually filmmaker has far more up his sleeve, most of it a daringly straight-forward investigation into how men and women live their lives, why some find contentment while others grow miserable, and how deeply perspective defines one's outlook on the day to day grind of existence. Tim's time-traveling isn't a gimmick; it's a refreshingly minimalistic tool that serves as both window and mirror. And not one of Tim's relationships are trivial; each is meaningful and lends itself to everything he sees through the window and everything we see in the mirror. It's this interplay of concept, character, plot and universal relevance that elevates About Time above its own kind and makes it something special.
Gravity was an immensely effective, stunningly innovative, cathartic spectacle. 12 Years a Slave and Captain Phillips were startling showcases of what powerful, moving true stories can accomplish on screen. Dallas Buyers Club, Her and Nebraska walked a fine line between comedy and drama and delivered brilliantly, each on their own unique terms. American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street were infectiously funny, amassing unforgettable comic performances that pushed each of the films' actors into bold, new territory. As far as I'm concerned, the 2013 Best Picture lineup was one of the most satisfying and inclusive in years. But About Time is something else entirely, and yet equally deserving of a Best Picture nomination that sadly never came. Innovative in its skewing of genre expectations. Powerful in the nuance with which it explores its themes and the clever ease with which springs its traps. Hilarious but heartbreaking, with both a disarming sense of humor and a genuine grasp of the human experience, its cast and filmmakers are at the top of their respective games. (I can't decide whether the scenes between Gleeson and Nighy or those between Gleeson and McAdams steal the show, and I'm not sure I want to.) About Time is more than one of the most rewarding overlooked gems of 2013, it's exemplary of the very best its potentially disparate genres has to offer. It's the best of Curtis. The best of Gleeson, Nighy and McAdams. It's the best film of 2013 you haven't seen.
About Time Blu-ray, Video Quality
About Time features a lovely 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation faithful to director Richard Curtis and cinematographer John Guleserian's intentions. Color and contrast are light and airy, with humble hues, unassuming primaries, lifelike skintones and dusty black levels. The filmmakers leave little room for flash or spectacle, and the resulting image is as gentle and modest as it's meant to be. Detail is natural as well, with clean edge definition, convincing fine textures and a hint of grain, none of which is hyper-sharpened or hindered in any way. Artifacting, banding, aliasing and the like are nowhere to be found either, and a few spikes in noise represent the only issue worth mentioning, even though it isn't an issue at all. All told, Curtis' film couldn't look much better than it does here. The presentation isn't going to wow the masses, but it pulls off everything it needs to pull off with the same breezy confidence and pinpoint precision of the story its cast brings to life.
About Time Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The same can be said of Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Easy to miss but difficult to deny, About Time's sound design is quite engaging, with a simple approach to sonic realism that makes each scene shine in its own simple way. The rear speakers aren't aggressive at all, instead relying on delicate ambience and sophisticated directionality to make the listener forget they're watching a movie. Low-end output follows suit, carefully infusing elements with weight and granting them presence without necessarily calling attention to the LFE channel. Tim's time-traveling takes more obvious advantage of the full soundfield, as do a handful of more bombastic beats, but even his leaps through the time stream don't amount to traditional showstoppers. (To clarify: as the tone of the film goes, that's a very, very good thing.) Dialogue remains clear, intelligible and perfectly prioritized as well, making About Time's AV presentation an effective and satisfying treat.
About Time Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
About Time Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
About Time may wear its heart on its sleeve, but it does so with such conviction, commitment and sincerity that it never once struck me as syrupy or overly sentimental. Curtis' romantic comedy is more a poignantly amusing meditation on the truths of life, loss and love than anything remotely conventional, and its transition from charming sci-fi rom-com to something richer and more relevant is smooth and fluid as it is heartfelt and authentic. I can't get over how moved I was, how often I was taken aback by something that completely caught me by surprise, and how much I connected with Tim's plight and all he learned, shared and experienced. For me, every minute rang true, and that's something of a rarity. Will everyone walk away declaring About Time one of the best films of 2013? Of course not. I did, though, so you may too. It's worth finding out for yourself, don't you think? Fortunately, Universal makes it that much easier to enjoy the film thanks to a terrific AV presentation and a decidedly decent collection of special features. Enjoy.
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About Time Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: February 4-11 - February 2, 2014
For the week of February 4th, Universal Studios Home Entertainment streets both the Academy Award-nominated drama Dallas Buyers Club as well as the romantic fantasy About Time. Other titles include Warner Home Entertainment's Stop-Loss and Lionsgate and Summit's ...
• Exclusive Giveaway: About Time - February 1, 2014
Blu-ray.com and Universal Studios Home Entertainment are offering five members the opportunity to win a copy of filmmaker Richard Curtis' About Time, starring Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy and Domhnall Gleeson. The dramatic yet whimsical romantic comedy arrives on ...
• About Time Blu-ray - December 10, 2013
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of filmmaker Richard Curtis' About Time, starring Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy and Domhnall Gleeson. The whimsical romantic comedy arrives on Blu-ray on February 4, 2014.
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