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Movie Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

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Written by Hombre Divertido

The Time Traveler’s Wife is pleasant enough, but you have to let go of a lot of questions to truly appreciate her.

[Please note that the author of this review has made every effort not to include plot spoilers, and thus certain points may remain slightly vague, and some characters not identified.]

Directed by Robert Schwentke and based on the best-selling book by author Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife tells the story of Clare who has grown up believing that she is destined to marry Henry. A grown-up Henry has visited Clare throughout her life due to his genetic disorder that causes him to disappear and travel throughout time for inconsistent periods of time, with little notice. The relationship between Clare and Henry remains strong, as they learn to deal with Henry’s affliction, like any couple would adapt to a more common malady.

Henry and Clare deal with the time traveling much easier then the audience may, as many questions go unanswered and aspects of the time-travel experiences go unexplored. This may frustrate many, but if you are able to focus on the relationship, which is essentially what the movie is about, you will enjoy the experience much more.

Apparently the novel provides substantially more detail, where as the movie focuses solely on the relationship between the two leads. Nonetheless, it does take too long to get to the story arc that creates the majority of the drama. Yes, we understand that the time traveling causes problems for the couple, but once they learn to accept the situation, the audience is left to wait far too long to get to the point where it is clear what is ultimately going to create the significant conflict.

Casting is the key to success here, as it is the performances that carry us through the holes in the story. Rachel McAdams as Clare gives the best performance in the film, as she is extremely engaging throughout her range of emotions. Eric Bana as the time traveler gives an intriguing performance, but is a bit too stoic, and ultimately distracts from the happier moments. Hailey and Tatum McCann, as Alba, steal every scene they are in as they light up the screen with natural energy. Casting Stephen Tobolowsky as the doctor attempting to help Henry with his problem was unfortunately a mistake. Tobolowsky is certainly an excellent character actor, but is too well known for this part, and caused snickers from the audience as soon as he hit the screen.

The music accents the film well, and the cinematography certainly makes it attractive to look at, but the special effects utilized to make Henry disappear are a bit outdated, and ultimately the final product has an eighties feel to it.

Recommendation: The Time Traveler’s Wife is a film that is going to appeal to a lot of people, as it is a powerful love story that will certainly pull on the heart strings. At 117 minutes, a lot more could have been added to give the film a wider appeal.

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