Whenever and wherever, a fistful of sweetness is needed to heal people’s torn or paralysed hearts. Particularly when winter’s grey sky shadow us. But gladly, About Time has been there since 2013, making my mental therapy all-year available, and is this week’s Movie Spotlight feature.
Within a poster charting a lovely couple laughing in the rain, ‘About Time’ traps audience by its presumably romantic fantasy. But when the movie ends, audiences have something else to cry for: life’s philosophy.
In Tim’s 21, his father tells him of a ‘family tradition’. Every male in this family can travel back in time, but only to their own previous lives, not to others’. Tim takes great advantage of this skill to perfect those imperfect. However, the actual message sent through About Time is : we can live life well without time travelling.
Loss is inevitable.
Time traveling allows Tim to ‘correct’ things, but unnecessarily ‘fix’ them. Tim saves his sister from a car accident with his privilege, but finds his original daughter no longer the same baby when returning to the reality. The truth is that he cannot go back to any point preceding the baby’s born. The embryo creates at its particular moment, having its momentary temperature, aroma and vibe. That special and arbitrary. Thus, any interruption of the time flow will affect the formation of ‘that embryo’, as known as ‘that baby’. Left with no choice, Tim makes the car accident happen again. Hateful to say, but saving one thing possibly get you lose the other. At times gain/happiness intersects with another gain/happiness. But it also alternates with loss/sadness. Through the life we are just learning to love, give, be hurt and find the right remedies for them. And again we will be alive.
You only live once. And That’s All You Need.
By the end Tim’s father tells him a ‘secret formula for happiness’. Live the first life as usual, but live it twice with attention on those beautiful little things unnoticed before. And here comes the most liberating realisation. Eventually Tim learns something beyond his father does. No longer does he travel back, because he lives the life as if he has already come back from the future. And thus, the extra care upon the ‘returned life’ has been laid onto the original－the truest one. My favourite quote (from this scene) says: ‘We are all traveling through time together everyday of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.’ Equipped with a heart willing to discover little things, we all have a power equivalent to Tim’s time traveling.
Fabulous mixed personality.
Although Tim and his lover, Mary, meet in a fairy-tale-like form, they avoid clichés. They are never as flawless as prices and princesses. Instead, Tim is just an average-looking man, with some characteristics he thinks being odd: ‘too tall, too skinny, too orange’. He is agreeable, but sarcastic when referring to his best friend, Jay, as a ‘dodgy’ guy. He is sincere, but sort of intimidating (in a lovely way, though) when asking Mary out. Likewise, the contrast lies in Mary is her angelic smile, insecurity and grumpiness. She seems mature, but mischievously cheats Tim to walk her home without making it clear. The hybrid of their characteristic adds extra flavour to how we resonate with the movie. Are not we all ‘Tim’ and ‘Mary’, living within a mixed grill of positivity and fear?
For some audiences, About Time probably lacks the strong vibrancy they see in Superhero films. But by the end of day, when you make yourself a cup of bedtime tea with scented candle glittering aside, Tim’s lesson probably touches the chord of your heart more than superheroes’ legends do. After all, we cannot better ourselves by actually learning to fly around skyscrapers. But we make days brighter by keeping lovely trifles in mind.
This winter, cuddle with your beloved ones, and learn to appreciate your life doubly by only living it once.