The Time Traveler's Wife


Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Written by:Bruce Joel Rubin
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana, Arliss Howard, Ron Livingston, Stephen Tobolowsky
Released: November 5, 2009
Grade: B+

There’s a great episode of the Simpsons where Homer tries to pitch a movie idea.  It’s about a guy who “travels back in time for some reason” and his best friend is a “talking pie”.  About half way through The Time Traveler’s Wife, I was of the belief that a talking pie would have been an improvement to the story.  I was horribly confused.

Henry (Bana) is a man who has the ability to be able to travel back and forth through time.  It’s not a gift he can control however.  He could be talking to someone and then… wham… he disappears and pops up in a different time and place.  Every time this happens however, his clothes get left behind.  He turns up buck naked at his new destination.  I’m sure those with a crush on Eric Bana will enjoy the many nude scenes.

Now there have been a lot of movies made about time travel and as you’d expect, this film will require you to open your mind to the unfathomable.   The premise here is that the past and the future cannot be changed.  Henry tries to do just that but he cannot.  Everything is predetermined, including the fact that he is travelling through time.  Have I lost you yet?

Once I finally came to grips with the time travel element, I realised this is a pretty good film which puts a different spin on the romantic drama genre.  Henry falls in love with a woman named Clare (McAdams).  She’s anything but a woman though when they first meet.  Clare is a 6-year-old girl and is visited by the futuristic Henry.  The two strike up a friendship with the curious twist being that Henry knows that they’re going to get married.  Clare doesn’t know this yet.  Hmmm, this is still pretty confusing.

The up shot is that they have a very unique relationship and I think McAdams and Bana are great together on the big screen.  It’s not easy being married to a man who disappears continually and knows how the future will pan out.  How long can they last?  Even Henry’s unsure of that answer for reasons which you will see…

Based on the novel from Audrey Niffenegger, the movie has been adapted by screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin.  Rubin won an Oscar in 1990 for penning the script for Ghost (starring the late Patrick Swayze) as well as films including Jacob’s Ladder and Deep Impact.  The ending is well worth it but there are a few bumps along the way, aside from my early befuddlement.  There are certain scenes and characters which were unnecessary.  It’s best not to think about the time travel stuff too hard either because you’ll only find more plot holes.

Yet, here I am giving The Time Traveler’s Wife a positive grading.  I liked it because it’s a little different and you’d have to be fairly cold-hearted not to get caught up in the emotion.  I shed a few tears in the later stages as the emotion sunk in.  There’s a beautiful moment where Henry and Clare embrace on the porch of their home on Christmas Day.  It provided a lasting memory from what turned out to be a film worth seeing… without the talking pie.