Friday, March 6, 2015

Cosmic Romance


On a rainy evening in Baguio City, my wife and I went out of our claustrophobic hotel room to see About Time, a good-natured fantasy romance written and directed by Richard Curtis. We had just finished having sex and there was nothing else to do so we decided to hit the cinema. We sat somewhere in the center, about midway up. I was quite tired and not really into these kinds of films, but after hearing Tim Lake's first lines, my eyes became glued to the screen.

"I always knew we were a fairly odd family. First there was me. Too tall, too skinny, too orange. My mum was lovely, but not like other mums. There was something solid about her. Something rectangular, busy and unsentimental. Her fashion icon was the queen. Dad, well, he was more normal. He always seemed to have time on his hands. After giving up teaching university students on his 50th birthday, he was eternally available for a leisurely chat or to let me win at table tennis.

And then there was mum's brother, Uncle Desmond. Always impeccably dressed. He spent the days just, well, being Uncle Desmond. He was the most charming and least clever man you could ever meet. His mind was on other things, though we never found out what. And then, finally there was Catherine. Katie. Kit Kat. My sister. In a household of sensible jackets and haircuts there was this, well, what can I call her - nature thing. With her elfin eyes, her purple T-shirts and her eternally bare feet. She was then, and still is to me, about the most wonderful thing in the world."
 
   The movie's enchanting couple was played by Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams, an actress familiar with the role of time traveller’s wife from both that 2009 flick and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Their love was written in the stars. But as soon as Tim and Mary had found affection, an unexpected glitch in time travel made them strangers again, so our ginger-haired protagonist had to arrange a whole new meeting with her future wife. And that was just the beginning of their cosmic romance.

   About Time was plagued by countless plot holes due to its bizarre time-travel premise. Tim was informed by his dad (Bill Nighy) on his 21st birthday that the men in his family can travel in time. Not Star Trek or Back to the Future stuff, but "rational" time travel, always backward and for strictly personal reasons. ("No killing Adolf Hitler or shagging Helen of Troy.") Just go into a dark place, close your eyes, clench your fists tight, and think of the exact moment you want to go to, and you will find yourself there.
 
   In spite of its flaws and inconsistencies, the film had truly delivered. It was beautifully told and well acted. We laughed, we cried; me and my wife thoroughly enjoyed it. If Tim's journey wasn't so darned hilarious, the movie's numerous gaps in logic might be unforgivable.

   Afterward we went for a late dinner at a well-lit Asian fusion restaurant across the mall. We talked briefly about the film while sipping hot tea. Anne was ready for her spicy lo mein and tuna goma-ae, but I was still under the movie's spell.
 
   "What are you thinking about?" my wife asked.
   
   "Oh, I'm just googling that gorgeous blonde Charlotte." I said looking at my phone. "Her name's Margot  Robbie and she's from Australia."
 
   But what I was really thinking was how grand it would be to own a nice little house along the beach where you can enjoy breakfast with your loved ones on the deck overlooking the ocean, every single day, no matter what the weather.

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