If you are in need of motivation to get off the couch and get out in the air, see a friend, or begin writing your own idea of the simple, achievable things that make you happy then while you are waiting for motivation to hit this is the perfect film to throw on while you wait it out.
Curtis’ film tells the story of Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) meandering his way through life like any other young adult, stagnant in their post-university existence. He’s not unhappy but he’s not content either. Sounds simple enough except there is an additional complication thrown into the mix: Tim, as a result of an inherited familial characteristic, can time travel. Despite this extraordinary discovery, Tim focuses on using this gift to obtain an extremely ordinary experience: love. And throughout the film, we see that this is no false pretence introduced at the start of the film but abandoned later due to uncontrollable greed or ambition. Tim learns through continuous fails, and repeated third and fourth chances at a certain interaction, that sometimes life just is ordinary. And yet, there is happiness to be found.
The film provides brilliant performances from Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy, Rachel McAdams, and Margot Robbie. There are some plot holes in the rules of time travel but realistically, you’re not going into a sci-fi wonder world here. The setting (Cornwall of all places), the relatable everyday events, and the supporting characters all reinforce the idea of the ordinary and this works quite well. Should Curtis have created an Avatar style world the concept of finding happiness in the ordinary would surely have been lost. On occasion, it does cause the viewer to reflect with a pang what they might have changed if they could go back and this is swiftly followed by the obvious acknowledgement that it doesn’t matter because you aren’t actually a time traveller. In any case, you would be turned off time travelling considering the film’s exploration of the complications that come along with it, particularly in terms of bereavement or changing the outcome of even the most volatile situations.
Ultimately, it is an uplifting film and definitely worth a watch. The overarching message is that you cannot control everything and it’s a poignant reminder that it’s often the ordinary things, days, and people that you will miss when they are gone.