Like most guys, I'm not that terribly fond of romantic movies but I gladly make an exception for any Richard Curtis movie, the man who brought us "Love Actually" and also wrote some very good and fun movies and TV series throughout his career.
So how does this movie rank among Curtis' other work? Well, it's not exactly a terrible movie but it's also far from the best thing he has ever done.
First of all, it's of course quite hard to stand out with a romantic movie, seeing how everything has been done to death already. This movie however still manages to find an original angle, by inserting a time travel element. And it's really not as corny or far fetched as it sounds. It's actually taking a pretty grounded approach but not without being a fun movie as well.
I feel that I really shouldn't be telling you too much about the story, since it's truly something you have to experience for yourself. Personally, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the things the movie did. It finds some pretty clever angles to its story and has some few nice surprises in it at as well. It develops nicely and works out as a pretty cute and warm movie with some heart- and likable characters in it.
But everything that goes up, has to come down at some point. And that's the case for this movie its story as well. The first half of the movie is basically a cute and romantic one, in which everything is peachy perfect. Characters are happy, things work out well for all of them but then comes the movie its second half. Not that the movie turns completely dark and sour halfway through but it does become a bit of a different one. It's far more drama oriented suddenly. The first half of the movie gets used to set up all of the happiness, only for the second half to completely destroy and tear all of this down again. This is of course something that a lot of movie do but it's something that's more apparent than usual in this one, due to the huge contrast between the first and the second half of the movie. The contrast is too big, too obvious and too deliberate. It doesn't only feels like a cheap trick but it also lets the movie feel like two totally different movies, slapped together. It just doesn't work out too well. It also actually causes the movie feel like a very long one. It's just over 2 hours but I swear, it felt more like 3.
I honestly would have absolutely adored this movie, if it entirely was more like its first half. I enjoyed the lightheartedness, comedy and characters of it and never felt bored and was constantly entertained. All of the plot-developments helped to keep things interesting, surprising and going at all times. I felt that the movie needlessly slowed down for its second half and it's not that I mind a bit of drama, as long as it suits the story and the natural progress of it. It felt too out of place for this movie though and it even borders melodrama at times. I also truly wasn't too fond of some of the plot-developments in its second half, that pretty much came out of nowhere and I don't mean that in a surprising or pleasant way.
And Domhnall Gleeson is a pretty good actor but personally I wouldn't have cast him as the lead in a romantic movie. I would have gone for someone more charismatic and -forgive me for saying- more handsome. I get it that they were trying to go for an average guy with an everyday average look but I just can't see any girls falling for him in real life, as they do in this movie. They even 'uglied up' Rachel McAdams a bit to make their romance more convincing but it wasn't really working for me. The movie was cute but the romance...I just wasn't always feeling it.
Still, it remains a perfectly fine and watchable movie, that offers plenty of entertainment and luckily for most part is still a fun and warm one to watch. Despite all my criticism i still enjoyed it and can also really recommend this movie, for that very reason.