About Time
About Time Poster
Directed by Richard Curtis
Produced by Tim Bevan
Eric Fellner
Nicky Kentish Barnes
Written by Richard Curtis

Domhnall Gleeson
Rachel McAdams
Bill Nighy

Music by Nick Laird-Clowes
Cinematography John Guleserian
Editing by Mark Day
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release September 4, 2013 (UK)
November 1, 2013 (US)
Running time 123 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $12 million
Gross revenue $52,846,273

About Time is a 2013 British romantic comedy science fiction film revolving around the classic time travel theme of changing one's past in order to have a better future. Written and directed by Richard Curtis, the film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy.


At the age of 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he can travel in time. Tim's father (Bill Nighy) tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Upon learning this, Tim goes back to the night of a recent New Year's Eve party where at midnight he was too shy to kiss someone and goes for the kiss instead.

The following summer, Tim's sister's friend comes to stay with the family. Tim has an instant attraction and come the end of her stay, decides to tell her. She tells him that he left it too late to do anything, and so Tim travels back to the middle of the summer and tells her earlier. This time, she says that they should wait until the end of the summer and talk again. Tim realizes she doesn't like him back and that time travel will not be able to help change her mind. He watches her leave, heartbroken.

Later, Tim decides to move to London to pursue a career as a lawyer. He moves in with an acquaintance of his father, Harry, who is a struggling playwright. After some months living in London, Tim's friend comes down to visit and they visit a Dans le Noir establishment on a night out, where Tim meets Mary (Rachel McAdams). They seem to be attracted to each other; and, outside when Tim gets to see her, he falls in love. He gets her phone number and returns home to find out Harry's play's opening night was a disaster as the lead actor forgot his lines. Tim then goes back in time and attends the play and, after many complications, eventually ensures the play is a success. Later, Tim attempts to call Mary only to find her number is not in his phone. He realizes that by going to the play instead of the blind date means he never met Mary. Remembering something from the date, Tim eventually locates Mary and learns that she has a boyfriend (met after the night of the play). Tim decides to go back to the point where she met her boyfriend and ensures she never meets him, instead going out on a date with Tim. They become a couple, with Tim eventually moving in with Mary and soon proposing to her, after which they learn that Mary is pregnant with Tim's child. Months pass and Tim sparingly uses time travel to help alter minor details of his life to benefit himself.

On the 1st birthday of Mary and Tim's daughter, Posy, Tim's sister crashes her car after a row with her boyfriend Jimmy, who has been nothing but bad news for her since they met at the New Year's Eve party Tim first travelled back to. Tim, deciding it best she never met him, takes her back to the party and makes sure they indeed never met, but upon returning to present time finds the butterfly effect means that Tim never had Posy. Instead another child was born in her place. After speaking to his father, Tim learns that once his child was born travelling back to a time before the child's birth will in fact stop that child from ever being born as time will happen differently in every aspect of his life. Tim thus reluctantly has to watch his sister go through the pain of breaking up with her boyfriend to ensure Posy is born. Tim's sister and friend become a couple and eventually have a child together. More time passes and Tim has another child with Mary.

One day, Tim learns that his father has terminal cancer and learns that this is also something time travel cannot change. Tim learns his father has known for quite some time but kept travelling back in time to effectively extend his life and spend more time with his family, but is now ready to die. Eventually his father dies, but Tim keeps travelling back into the past (when his father was still alive) so that he may see and speak to him. Eventually, Mary says she wants another child. Tim also wants another but knows doing so means he won't be able to visit his father in the past again after the baby is born. After speaking with his father, Tim decides it is the right thing to do. After visiting his dad for the following nine months until the time eventually comes for Mary to give birth, Tim goes back one last time and lets his father know that this is the last time he will visit him. They then both travel back in time together when Tim was a small boy and relive a fond memory of them playing on the beach. Before Tim travels back to the present, his father tells him to re-live each day, once with all the stresses as a normal person faces, and then the second knowing what to expect from the day, and to embrace it and enjoy the day for exactly what it is. Tim does this for some time but then comes to realize that it is better to live each day once, as if it was his last, and to try and enjoy his life with his family like everyone else does. The film ends with Tim getting his three children ready for school, joyously relishing in the wonder of his world.


  • Domhnall Gleeson as Tim Lake
  • Rachel McAdams as Mary
  • Bill Nighy as Tim's father, James Lake
  • Lydia Wilson as Tim's sister, Kit Kat
  • Lindsay Duncan as Tim's mother, Mary
  • Tom Hollander as Harry
  • Vanessa Kirby as Joanna
  • Margot Robbie as Charlotte
  • Tom Hughes as Jimmy
  • Catherine Steadman as Tina
  • Matt Butcher as Courtroom Observer
  • Lisa Eichhorn as Mary's Mum
  • Richard Cordery as Uncle Desmond
  • Will Merrick as Jay
  • Joshua McGuire as Rory
  • Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney as Buskers
  • Richard Griffiths as Sir Tom (final film released after his death)
  • Richard E. Grant as Actor
  • Matthew C Martino as Commuter