The Time Traveler’s Wife

I love the concept of traveling through time and some of the films and TV shows about it are among my favourites: Quantum Leap, Timeline, etc.

I’m glad that I didn’t read the best-selling novel that this movie is based on before seeing the film because all evidence claims I would have been disappointed with the way it played out on the screen.  Apparently there are some aspects of the book that just couldn’t be translated onto film. Not having preconceived notions, I found it exquisite and emotionally devastating.

Henry (Eric Bana) is a librarian in Chicago who has been time-traveling, through no will of his own, since he was six.  He goes back and forth and sees himself and people whom he loves at different points through his life.   Although he can’t change things, he can have an impact on them.  As an adult, he comforts his child self after a traumatic experience.  He also visits a little girl named Clare who, after she is grown up, looks for him.  That’s Rachel McAdams.  Although their union is fated she is not a traveler and has to cope with the fact that Henry will disappear without notice for undetermined lengths of time.   Sometimes its minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes days.  She knows he can’t help it but that doesn’t always make it easier to handle.

In a featurette about the making of the film and why they left in or left out certain aspects of the novel, director Robert Schwentke makes a very good point: there are no rules about time travel.  Sci-fi nuts and theorists claim traveling through time has to be done a certain way and that’s been the basis for some of the criticism of this movie.  But let’s face it, we can’t travel through time so who can possibly claim to know how it works?  That’s the beauty of it.  Anything goes!

We enjoyed the movie a lot although my film-buff partner had things figured out long before I did and I was the only one who cried!  Sobbed, actually.  Rachel McAdams was less smiley than usual and more believable in this flick – something I don’t always find her to be, despite the fact that she’s adorable and the camera loves her. Eric Bana is wonderful as the man who disappears without warning and suddenly materializes, naked, in strange situations.  The actor who played his Dad was vaguely familiar and a little googling revealed why – he’s Arliss Howard, who’s married to Debra Winger in real life. 

If you don’t have rules about fantasy concepts and can go with the flow of a couple whose lives are not in their own hands I’d recommend The Time Traveler’s Wife and give it three Kleenexes up.