The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

Maybe the book is better.  The Time Traveler’s Wife is a romantic drama directed by Robert Schwentke, adapted from Audrey Niffenegger’s bestseller of the same name, and I had heard so many great things about the book, and I am a big fan of the romantic drama genre, but all that was for naught.  This is a good movie which requires a certain amount of suspense of belief to enjoy even at the moderate level.  Eric Bana plays Henry DeTamble, a man who involuntarily time travels.  Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams). Henry is a librarian afflicted with a genetic disease that causes him to travel through time more or less randomly. Henry’s unpredictable escapades are often dangerous, terrifying and sometimes life-threatening ordeals because he ends up buck-naked and starving in unknown places and times. For those reasons, Henry keeps himself in top physical shape and taught “himself” all type of survival skills such as pick-pocketing, street fighting, or picking locks. After a random while, he always goes back to his “present” but is largely unable to affect his future. At age 28, he meets 20-yr old Clare Abshire. He doesn’t know her but she has known him since she was 6 and has been waiting for him all her life and will do so the rest of her life.  This is the part that I find kind of creepy.  He meets his wife as a time traveler when she is a kid–she gets a crush on him, which is largely not his fault–but once she is his wife, he goes back and visits her on a more or less regular basis…which affects her trajectory in life.  One of the inconsistencies in the story is that he cannot affect the outcome of life’s events–he tries to stop his mother’s death over and over again but he cannot–but on the other hand, the chance meeting with Claire as a 6 year old does affect her life.  So when does it happen and when doesn’t it?  Hard to say.  Anyway, the whole manipulation of the woman who becomes your wife was unsettling enough that I couldn’t get over it.  Otherwise, Rachel McAdams does a good job portraying the wife of a man who she adores but can;t really count on.  Eric Bana seems a bit wooden, and I am starting to think that might be a pattern for him–Romulus, My Father, and The Other Boleyn Girl being two recent examples.  The cinematography has a beautiful stark and cold quality to it which reinforce the tragic nature of the movie. The movie was beautifully shot by Florian Ballhaus and is the strongest attribute of the movie. The crafty camera-work using motion and placement selection gave a particular tone to his scenes and Schwentke used that to his advantage in the film, giving the movie a light touch of fantasy. He created a nice immersing atmosphere that really highlighted Clare and Henry’s impending fate. The CGI effects of Henry’s time traveling are unspectacular but first rate while the overused musical score was melancholic, adding to the tragic tone of the movie.  If you are a lover of the tragic love story or wither of the two leads, this one might be a good one for you–otherwise I would recommend another choice.

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Filed under Movie Review, Romantic Drama

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