We drove to the local Odeon to see the just-released film: The Time Traveler’s Wife from Audrey Niffenegger’s book of the same name. I hadn’t read it, but I do recall it being at the top of the best seller’s list back in 2004. I’m not normally attracted to romantic movies, but I was intrigued to find-out how they would treat the whole ‘time-travel’ thing. I felt certain that Ann would enjoy it as she
enjoys really enjoys loves romantic films.
Starring Eric Bana (Henry) and Rachel McAdams (Clare), it tells of the strain on a loving couple’s relationship when one partner spontaneously time-travels (as you do!). Early reviews suggested a ‘super-weepy’…so it’s Kleenex at the ready.
How was it then? Unlike most films that have a slow build-up, this one didn’t waste any time getting down to the story-line. Within minutes he and his mother are involved in a car crash and she is killed instantly. At that very point as a young boy, he begins to time-travel. At first, it’s just a few metres from the accident, where he is visited by his future-self and told not to worry. The next scene – a very significant one – shows him as a man, visiting his future wife as a small girl.
As the film got into its stride, we soon became familiar with his condition – the special-effects used to depict his travelling were subtle and didn’t rely on the flash-bang-wallop of most American films.
For me, the clever scripting and the superb acting meant that it was easy to care about the two lead characters – essential if a film is to be successful. The unlikely theme of spontaneous time-travel and its impact on a relationship was well executed without ever seeming far-fetched nor ridiculous.
The film’s (and the book’s) treatment of time-travel as a medical condition similar to epilepsy made an interesting theory and the couple’s worry about whether they would pass on the ‘illness’ to their children added an interesting layer to the story-line.
The only aspect that did seem a little far-fetched was everyone’s acceptance that Henry could time-travel.
The film was well-paced and although sometimes it became a little confusing as to when Henry was in the time-line, the story continued to intrigue
‘Weep-Factor 5’ in the final 30 minutes of the film as Henry discovers he will die before his daughter reaches her sixth birthday. For the audience, we we left guessing right until the end about how and when.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed the film, it was very thought provoking and took a different direction to most-time travel stories by focusing on the emotional impact of the situation. Interestingly, Ann described the film as “weird” and “bit slow”!