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About Time

About Time title card

Year - 2013
Studio - Universal Pictures
Stars - Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson, Lindsay Duncan, Richard Cordery, Joshua McGuire
Director - Richard Curtis
Writing Credits - Richard Curtis
Music - Nick Laird-Clowes


On his 21st birthday, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) is told by his father (Bill Nighy) that the men in their family have always had the ability to travel in time, to and from any point in their life. This is accomplished by simply going into a dark closet, clenching his fists and willing himself to a previous time. Tim, assuming that his father is joking, is astonished to discover that the technique actually works. He sets out to use his new ability to "find a girlfriend", but soon learns that, time travel or not, you can't make someone love you.

He meets the lovely Mary (Rachel McAdams) and they immediately connect with each other. She gives him her phone number but, when he travels in time to a point prior to their meeting, the number vanishes from his phone contact list. Through dogged determination, he locates and meets her all over again but is surprised to learn that she now has a new boyfriend, Rupert. He finds out all the details about how Mary and Rupert met and then goes back in time to prevent that meeting.

About Time poster

Tim uses his ability to continually improve or correct situations, including his lovemaking experiences with Mary, as well as saving his London flat mate's play writing premiere. Mary and Tim are married on a stormy day near his parents' home on the Cornwall coast, with Tim using time travel to save the wedding from bad best-man speeches. Soon, they have a baby daughter, Posy. Tim, however, begins to appreciate that not all life's problems can be solved by revisiting and altering them.

Tim's free-spirited sister, Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson), is seriously injured in a car accident while driving after a fight with her abusive husband. No problem - Tim goes back to prevent their original meeting, and maneuvers her to a healthier relationship. But when he returns, he is shocked to find that his daughter, Posey, is entirely different in appearance. Tim's father explains that the effect was to alter his own time line and, thus, the circumstances and genetics of Posey's conception. Got that? So, he has to undo Kit Kat's change in favor of a more conventional counseling approach. When he learns that his father is dying of cancer, he similarly learns that going back to his pre-cancer time would alter the genetics of his child.

Another lesson that his father passes on to him is to experience every day twice - normally and then with a more philosophical attitude, being especially sensitive to events and feelings. And the final lesson is that, rather than using time travel to alter events, live every day as if you had returned to make it the best day possible.

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