The Time Travellers Wife – Movie Review
Lets get one thing straight from the start here folks, this is not a science fiction movie. It may proclaim to be about time travel and most certainly it is the central theme of the entire movie, but there is about as much time taken to explore and explain the time travel, as there is to explain why nobody thinks its that weird. This is a romance film first and a sci-fi a far, far distant second. That is not to say that it does anything wrong for a romance, just don’t go in with any expectation of it having any science to hang your hat on. Its about some very powerful emotions and a love story that encompasses two and a half lives.
Eric Bana continues his trend of creating characters who are, for the most part, emotionally distant and cold. At a very early age Henry witnesses the death of his mother in a car accident that he accidentally time travels his way out of, this is the beginning of a life being “unstuck in time.” After traveling out of the car accident to a time two weeks earlier, he is met by his older self who explains what has happened. From then we skip a bunch of years and are introduced to Claire, (Rachel Mc Adams) a girl who fronts tells the twenty-something Henry that they have been having a relationship for the last eighteen or so years of her life. Only he hasn’t done it yet. This doesn’t really seem to worry Henry that much though as he’s clearly been dealing with this sort of stuff for a while now. If you’re confused now though, just wait!
Henry and Claire maintain a rocky relationship which involves him intermittently disappearing into either the past or the future while she is left trying to work it all out. They marry and try to have kids, which leads to the secondary concern that his time travel problem is in fact a genetic trait. Their relationship becomes strained and they both stray to areas they may not be comfortable with. In the end the arrival of a second time traveler is the start of a series of events that leads to the strangely sad and beautiful ending.
I’ll be blunt, this isn’t my usual kind of film. It is unashamedly schmaltzy and at times saccharine sweet, yet i found myself inextricably drawn into the story with each new scene. The conceit that Henry travels back and forth through time is made acceptable by the limitations this is given in combination with the difficulties it presents him. He can travel to anywhere or when, but tends to go to a few different places that have specfic meaning to him and every time he does travel he arrives their without the benefit of clothing. This leads to some humorous situations, but also to a feeling that this constant time travel would eventually become a massive pain in the ass. In fact it felt like the first half hour of the film all i was doing was watching Eric Bana put on clothes, over and over agian (Yes ladies this is a film for you!)
The film is nicely shot, and has a pleasant understated score (read: i didn’t notice a second of it), though its strongest point must be its editing. I was able to follow with no difficulties the intricacies of a man’s life story with multiple versions of the one man in different time periods at different times with no difficulty at all. It is a testament to the story editor and the film editor that this is as clear and un-confusing at it ends up being! The acting is fine, albeit a little unengaging at times, with no real standout performances. Where the film really finds it’s stride though is in the emotional core, the character of Claire. This is her story and if you remember that it becomes a very strange but beautiful love story. The only comparison i could make to the overall plot is to one of the best episodes of the new run on Doctor Who; “The Girl in the Fireplace” in which the unchanging Doctor revisits a girl through the stages in her life. That said, it compares very favorably indeed.
It certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea as it does try to straddle two genres and in doing so risks losing both audiences. The Risk pays off though and the Time travel concept ends up crafting a truly unique love story that could not exist any other way. In the days of immortal love affairs like the Twilight saga and even to an extent Highlander, this story explores something new, beautiful and different.
It’s a shocked and surprised COOL from me,
So, am i glassy eyed with emotion and did i miss something? Or is this a twaddling piece of shite that i somehow got blinded by? How does the film compare to the (no doubt) much better book? feedback and let us know!
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