Who hasn’t ever wanted a do-over to rectify a mistake, poor decision or hurt? In About Time, directed by Richard Curtis, the lucky men in the Lake family can indeed go cosmically back into their personal pasts for life-redirecting fixer-uppers.
Young British lawyer Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) learns about this magical family power on his 21st birthday from dad (Bill Nighy). And because he’d like to have a girlfriend, Tim starts using the technique – find an enclosed space, clench one’s fists and think hard about the desired past event to re-infiltrate – to find himself a romantic partner. He does. She’s Mary (Rachel McAdams) and, when he initially messes up his courtship of her, he simply heads for a clothes closet, clenches and triumphs.
As the years go by for Tim and Mary – she’s now his wife – the powers get put to good use, often to help others. But at some point, Tim must confront the necessity and value of do-overs if, as Curtis suggests, one is already living one’s life mindfully.
When a movie is “about time,” archetypal Saturn, which rules time and the wisdom gained from experiences, is invariably the star of the show. Saturn’s domain is also fatherhood, and the movie is as much about the Lake men’s father-son relationship as it is about whimsical time travel.
In Saturn’s world, details matter. Tim, the obvious Curtis stand-in, realizes in the end that fully investing in the moment and savoring its most minute elements is the best and perhaps only way to make do-overs an afterthought.
Astrology Film Rating: ♄ (Saturn)