Reviews

The Time Traveler's Wife

3

It’s chrono-illogical, Captain...

Eric Bana doesn’t know if he’s coming or going in this supernatural drama.

That’s because his Chicago librarian Henry has a rare genetic disorder – ‘chrono- impairment’ – that keeps lifting him out of the present and dumping him into his past or future, with no clue where he is or clothes on his back.

Henry can’t control his quantum leaps any more than Sam Beckett could, which makes it hard for him to make friends or hold down a relationship.

Miraculously, though, he does with Clare (Rachel McAdams), an artist who’s carried a torch for him ever since he first introduced himself to her when she was a little girl and whom, numerous time slips later, he eventually makes his wife.

Swallow that load of bunkum and you’ll be fine with Robert Schwentke’s glossy adap of Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 bestseller.

You might even be touched by Henry and Clare’s unconventional romance, particularly if you warmed to such previous fantastical weepies as Benjamin Button or The Lake House.

Investing totally in its wacky conceit, Ghost screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin plays things admirably straight all the way to a bittersweet conclusion that should leave no hankie unwrung.

Bana and McAdams, meanwhile, make an adorable couple, plucking the heartstrings with their soulful stares, teary embraces and photogenic looks.

Okay, so Schwentke might have allowed a little more levity to encroach upon the sombre mood or given Bana more room to profit from his curse.

(Apart from using his abilities to win the lottery he never turns them to his own advantage.) No good reason is ever offered either why Henry can’t use his time jumps to stop his beloved mom dying in the car crash that opens the movie.

Why, for example, doesn’t he alert her to her impending accident in the scene where he finds himself sharing her subway carriage some months earlier?

Verdict:

You’d go mad unpicking the paradoxes in this convoluted brain scrambler. (If you thought Schwentke’s Flightplan was bonkers, try this one on for size.) Better to surrender to its implausibilities and revel in the lush, sudsy silliness of it all.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • MikeyRix

      Aug 26th 2009, 21:58

      3

      It was pretty average, having read the book; even Bana's acting falls under that category. Like you said it doesn't explain why Henry can't save his mum from the car wreck (when he time travels he can't take anything with him that isn't a part of his body btw) and they DAMN WELL MISSED OUT THE KEY BIT AT THE END!!! They've watered it down for the pre-teen set who only went to see it for Bana. >:(

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    • bassthing

      Mar 23rd 2011, 20:23

      4

      Considering I rented this film more for my wife than for myself, ironically it was I that enjoyed this film more. My wife had a relatively fair criticism that this film is a little trite. However I would add that it has a certain charm because of this, and it is trite at the beginning of the film, and much less so by the end. Personally the first reason I enjoyed this film was that the two main characters actually do have a believable chemistry. Too often I have watched (Hollywood) films in which the lead couple have absolutory zero believability as a couple. Secondly, this film definitely throws you into the story straight away, hooking me with the central premise of a boy (and then a man) time travelling who cannot control what happens to him. Third. I have now actually seen a film in which I liked Eric Bana. To be honest I thought he was a bit crappy until this, but he plays the role well, especially with the potential of some of the material to be somewhat paedophilic (let your mind boggle, and I hope that isn’t too much of a spoiler for any of you out there!). In summary, I’ve never read the source novel but apparently it is highly acclaimed, if the film is anywhere near as good as the book it’s worth a read. P.S. I’ve heard criticisms regarding the time travelling and paradox effects etc, if you think of this as a relationships first - time travelling second story I believe the time travelling makes very good sense! Food for thought.

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