This is a British romantic, sci-fi comedy about time travel. The main character travels through time to change things in the past for what he thinks might be better for him and for others in the present.
Tim Lake (Domhain Gleeson) and his father (Bill Nighy) come from a Cornish family that is able to travel through time, but certain rules apply. Tim is told by his father on his 21st. birthday (as he was) that only male members of the family have the skill, and the travel must be always backwards. The rules for appropriate travel make things awkward when they are broken. For example, travelling back in time when things are made a little different may cause a different child to be born and the original child to be lost.
The film plays loosely with time travel in different ways. But despite some plot inconsistencies and rule-breaking, the film's core moral messages manage to find their mark.
Tim is not all that expert in matters of the heart and he falls in love with an insecure girl called Mary (Rachel McAdams), who he meets at a "dreaded New Year's party". Unable to meet Mary at a time she expects, for example, Tim uses time travel to try to re-arrange things, and, not surprisingly, problems result.
The chemistry between Tim and Mary is particularly good and Gleeson and McAdams are delightfully spontaneous together. Using his special skill, Tim does all he can to try to turn himself into an ideal partner and travels back in time regularly to correct or change unfortunate statements or messy situations that he has created in the past, or he knows has happened to others. His efforts are not entirely successful. What he does often creates difficulties for himself and those around him, and his happiness with Mary in the present is affected as a result.
This is a sweet, light romance movie that is directed whimsically by Richard Curtis. He uses time travel as a device to deliberately communicate the film's main messages and to raise its smiles and laughs.
- Peter Sheehan, ACFOB
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Domhnail Gleeson, and Bill Nighy. Directed by Richard Curtis. Rated M (Coarse language and sexual references). 123 min.