I don’t often write about movies. Maybe because I don’t watch that many. Two hour chunks of time are typically reserved for reading or writing. But this past weekend, my husband and I stumbled upon a movie called “About Time” and it was EXACTLY the kind of story I like best.
The story was created by the same guy who did “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually,” which makes me wonder how I missed it. It’s a story about Tim–a sweet and slightly goofy British guy who learns at the age of 21 that all the men in his family can travel in time. Although it’s only to the past and only in their own lives. What would you do with such a gift? If you’re Tim, you’ll try to get a girlfriend.
The characters are delightful and winsome. The story is charming and sweet. But there’s a deeper message about appreciating love and life that makes this movie a new favorite for me.
So what makes this movie my favorite kind? The use of science fiction/magic/miracles to emphasize a universal truth. But only a little sci-fi/magic/miracle. It’s adding a dash of dream to real life in order to draw attention to something that’s there regardless. We’re just too busy and inattentive to see it.
Other favorite stories that use this technique include:
- Harvey – A movie starring Jimmy Stewart as a very kind man whose best friend is an invisible, six-foot white rabbit.
- The Bishop’s Wife – A movie starring Cary Grant as an angel come to earth to help the Bishop see what’s really most important in life.
- The Wedding Dress – A book by Rachel Hauck about a dress that fits the size and style of several generations of women who need it.
- Big Fish – A book by Daniel Wallace and movie starring Ewan McGregor about a son who comes to understand his father through a series of tall tales presented as truth.
If you want to get technical, the technique is called magical realism. And some people find it hard to swallow fantasy when it’s rooted in the real world. But I’ve long thought there’s a great deal more going on than we can comprehend.
That’s the kind of story I like to see, hear, and read. And it’s the kind of story I like to write. Here’s hoping you do, too.