Last night, I had the absolute pleasure of watching the film About Time starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams.
While I enjoyed myself more than I have in quite a long time watching a film, I found myself asking the question ‘why now?’
I’ve been asking that question a lot lately. I’ve discovered that if a play, or any performance medium doesn’t need to be performed, if there is a message that isn’t relevant to people today, then it’s fairly masturbatory for a company, whether it be in theater or film to put it on. And while this endearing, quirky, heart-wrenching, beautiful film was an utter joy to watch, I wasn’t sure if there was a message that needed to meet audiences immediately.
The question for me then is, is joy enough?
There are plays and films that are timeless for me because no matter how old they are, they are absolutely astonishing and lovely to watch and be a part of. I could watch Angels in America for the rest of my life and never tire of its beautiful writing and fully fleshed out characters. There is something so enjoyable about letting darkness enfold me in a movie theater, or even my own home, and watching one of my favorite films, or experiencing a new one on a giant screen.
Is art relevant enough if it is only enjoyable? Does that make it art or entertainment? AH!
Or is art that has timeless messages that are what makes them so enjoyable? Love is something people seem to never tire of, and is always relevant in our culture. Can there be something like too much love stories? Romeo and Juliet is as beloved today as it was when it premiered and audiences never cease to experience catharsis of a love so powerful nothing but death can stop it.
Upon further thought I realized (SPOILERS AHEAD, watch out!) About Time does have an extremely relevant message to contemporary audiences. The notion of a man using time travel to enjoy his life, to really take in all of the moments of every day life and to find the beauty is something this fast paced world needs more than ever. In a constant swarm so many of us find ourselves in, the message to ‘Stop. Breathe. Live’ is one that I find particularly powerful. However, my way of getting there led me to some extremely fruitful questions, so I now am even more in love with my experience of the film.