Time travel is not just a sci-fi element. Movies across other genres have also used the tricky concept to add some drama to the lives of their characters. From romantic comedies to family movies, time plays a crucial role in bringing the plot of the movie together.
Whether it’s charming your college sweetheart, seizing a missed opportunity, or even reliving an exam on a loop, traveling through time can give our beloved characters a chance to correct the error of their ways. If you’re not a sci-fi fan but love movies that play with the abstract concept of time, these films are a must-watch.
10 ‘Premature’ (2014)
Premature is a coming-of-age romantic comedy film that was released in 2014. The movie follows the story of a high school student named Rob (John Karna), who wakes up on the morning of his college entrance exam with a major problem — he’s stuck in a time loop that forces him to relive the same day over and over again.
As he navigates through his day, he tries to fix his mistakes and win over the girl of his dreams while also dealing with the various social and personal challenges of being a teenager. The film was directed by Dan Beers.
9 ’17 Again’ (2009)
Directed by Burr Steers, 17 Again follows the story of Mike O’Donnell, played by Matthew Perry, a man in his late 30s who feels like he has lost everything in life, including his wife and kids, his job, and his sense of purpose. One day, he gets the chance to relive his high school years, be 17 again (as Zac Efron), and try to change the course of his life.
With the help of his best friend, Mike tries to navigate the complexities of being a teenager again while also trying to win back the love of his life, played by Leslie Mann.
8 ‘When We First Met’ (2018)
The romantic comedy film When We First Met follows the story of Noah (Adam DeVine), who has been in love with his best friend, Avery (Alexandra Daddario), for years. After Avery gets engaged to another man, Noah discovers a magical photo booth that allows him to travel back in time and relive the night he first met Avery.
As he tries to change the course of their relationship, he discovers that altering the past has unintended consequences for the present. The film was directed by Ari Sandel and features supporting performances by Robbie Amell and Shelley Hennig.
7 ‘The Kid’ (2000)
This movie, directed by Jon Turteltaub, follows the story of Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis), a successful image consultant who his 8-year-old self (Spencer Breslin) visits. As he tries to figure out why his younger self has come back to see him, Russ begins to reflect on his life and the choices he has made that have led him to where he is today.
With the help of a friendly neighbor, Russ attempts to come to terms with his past and change his future. The film was a minor box-office success, and even earned praise from Roger Ebert, who award the film three out of four stars.
6 ‘Somewhere in Time’ (1980)
The romantic drama film Somewhere in Time follows the story of Richard Collier, a playwright obsessed with a photograph of a woman he sees in a hotel. Through self-hypnosis, Richard travels back in time to the year 1912, where he meets the woman from the photograph, Elise McKenna.
As the two fall in love, Richard realizes that he is running out of time and must find a way to stay in the past with Elise. The film was directed by Jeannot Szwarc and is based on the novel Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson. It features a classic score by John Barry and has gained a cult following over the years for its romantic themes and time-travel plot.
5 ‘Happy Accidents’ (2000)
Happy Accidents is a romantic comedy-drama film that follows the story of Ruby Weaver, a woman who has had a string of failed relationships and finally meets a charming man. As they start to fall in love, Sam reveals a shocking secret — he claims to be a time traveler from the year 2470.
Despite her initial skepticism, Ruby starts to believe Sam’s story and becomes convinced that they are meant to be together. As they navigate the challenges of their relationship and Sam’s supposed time-traveling abilities, they must confront the possibility that their love might not be enough to overcome the obstacles they face. The film was written and directed by Brad Anderson.
4 ’13 Going on 30′ (2004)
Directed by Gary Winick, this romantic comedy movie follows the story of Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen), a 13-year-old girl who is desperate to fit in with the cool kids at her school. After a disastrous birthday party, Jenna wishes to be “30, flirty, and thriving” and magically wakes up as a 30-year-old woman (Jennifer Garner) in 2004.
Confused by her new life, Jenna seeks out her childhood best friend and tries to reconcile with him while navigating the complexities of being a grown-up in New York City. As she starts to remember the events that led up to her transformation, Jenna realizes that the life she wanted may not be as perfect as she imagined.
3 ‘Midnight in Paris’ (2011)
The film is written and directed by Woody Allen and features a star-studded cast, including Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, and Adrien Brody. The movie follows the story of Gil Pender, played by Owen Wilson, a successful Hollywood screenwriter on vacation in Paris with his fiancée and her family. Gil struggles to write his first novel and longs for the Paris of the 1920s, which he considers the golden age of creativity and intellectualism.
One night, while wandering the streets of Paris, Gil is transported back in time to the 1920s, where he meets some of his literary idols, including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein. As he spends more time in the past, Gil begins to question his own life and relationships and wonders if he should stay in the past or return to his own time.
2 ‘About Time’ (2013)
About Time is a romantic comedy-drama film that narrates the story of Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson), a young man who discovers that he can time travel. Tim sets out to improve his life and find true love using his newfound powers. He falls in love with Mary (Rachel McAdams) and uses his time-travel abilities to woo her and correct mistakes he makes along the way.
However, as Tim learns more about the consequences of his actions, he realizes that he must use his powers responsibly and appreciate the moments he has with the people he loves.
1 ‘Groundhog Day’ (1993)
Directed by Harold Ramis, Groundhog Day follows the story of Phil Connors (Bill Murray), a cynical and self-centered weatherman who is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, after getting caught in a time loop, Phil wakes up on the same day over and over again, experiencing the same events and interactions with the people of the town.
As he becomes increasingly frustrated and desperate to break the cycle, Phil reevaluates his life and how he treats those around him. Eventually, he learns to appreciate the small moments and make positive changes in himself, which ultimately leads to his escape from the time loop.
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