David Mitchell’s sprawling epic novel that intertwines a sextet of seemingly disparate narratives across the sands of time forms the basis for this hugely ambitious synonymous imagining from the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer. Critically lauded upon its release for the effortless synergy of its unconnected strands, Mitchell’s novel was soon labelled unfilmable when the inevitable adaptation was mooted. Studios tended to agree and shied away from financing the project, but the passion and determination of the Wachowski’s and lead Tom Hanks ensured that with a little help from the German government and multiple independent financiers the film got made.
There are few constants in life; the changing of the seasons, the relentless progression of time and family are but a few. Judd Apatow has always concerned himself with the latter; thematically it’s central to much of his work, but here, as with Knocked Up to which This is 40 acts as a sequel of sorts, he casts real life wife Leslie Mann as main protagonist Debbie and delightful daughters Maude and Iris as her progeny.