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Originally published Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 12:24 PM

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It’s ‘About Time’ for a romantic night at the movies

A three-star review of the winning romance, “About Time,” starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie Review 3 stars

‘About Time,’ with Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Margot Robie. Written and directed by Richard Curtis. 123 minutes. Rated R for language and some sexual content. Several theaters.

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Move over, Hugh Grant; a redhead (or, in this movie’s parlance, a “ginger twerp”) is gaining ground. “About Time,” the latest sweet-natured rom-com from Richard Curtis (writer of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill” and writer/director of “Love Actually”) features Domhnall Gleeson, aka Bill Weasley in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” who endearingly describes himself in the opening scenes as “too small, too skinny, too orange.” He doesn’t quite have the patented Hugh Grant Stammer, but he doesn’t need it; this romantic anti-hero has quite enough charm to last past teatime.

Gleeson plays Tim, a nice fellow from Cornwall who learns, on his 21st birthday, that the men in his family share a secret — they can time-travel. Backward, that is. “We can’t travel to the future,” explains his father (Bill Nighy), as if that would be preposterous. Instead, they can move back in time to replay moments, making things go exactly right; something Tim quickly practices on his new girlfriend Mary (Rachel McAdams): replaying their first date, their first romantic encounter, and ultimately, the proposal.

This isn’t really a rom-com, as nothing ever comes between Tim and Mary (even when given the opportunity to desert his beloved for an alluring blonde, you know he’ll never do it). Rather, it’s a pleasant, gentle comedy about learning to love life; about enjoying every moment, even if you have to play it over twice to get it right. You might wish that Curtis would go back in time and give Mary more of a personality (poor McAdams has nothing to play but angelic sweetness), or that this movie’s time-travel rules were a little more consistent, or that Uncle Desmond (Richard Cordery, whose performance is a small masterpiece of befuddlement) had more screen time — but “About Time” brings enough pleasures, even without a replay.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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