The Time Traveler's Wife
This must be a metaphor for something, surely? I haven’t read Audrey Niffenegger’s best-selling novel and after seeing this silly, banal movie I very much doubt I’ll be seeking it out, but the book clearly speaks to some people, and maybe the film will too.
He explains that he’s a time traveler, and when he evaporates before her eyes (after promising to return next Tuesday) she finds that she believes him.
What it is that Henry sees in her is not clear (he’s in his thirties at this point), so their love affair must be destiny. At any rate, he does keep popping back at various ages – sometimes he’s younger, sometimes he’s sprouting a few grey hairs around the temple – to lay the groundwork for their first meeting… That is, when the grown up Clare will meet the befuddled younger Henry, and explain to him that she’s known him all her life even though he has never met her.
Still with me? Nor me. But the movie goes on in this vein for another two hours, with Eric coming and going whenever he gets over-excited, and Rachel welcoming him with open arms, and worrying when he’ll show up next, and how old he might be when he does.
In one of the film’s quirkier touches, like Arnie in The Terminator, Henry always shows up starkers – see his clothes don’t have the same genetic abnormality that he has. (As far as we know this is not a problem for his offspring, Alba, though she shares his dubious gift.)
Consistency being the hobgoblin of small minds, the movie pretty much makes up the rules of time travel as it goes along, revising them along the way as the story demands. So Henry can’t effect the future, it is written in stone. Except when he shows up with a winning lottery ticket, absolving Clare of any financial worries for the foreseeable future (which is saying quite a bit in his case).
Also he can’t control his wandering… Except that sometimes he and Clare seem to live a fairly normal existence for extended periods, and other times, he’s gone for years. Just like a man! Clare doesn’t just accept this, she embraces it – as if suffering and separation are integral components of what she seems to believe is a perfect romance. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, perhaps.
Directed by Robert Schwentke (Flightplan) and scripted by Bruce Joel Rubin, who evidently has a thing for dead men walking (Ghost, Jacob’s Ladder, My Life), The Time Traveler’s Wife has some intriguingly jumbled chronology, but it soon runs out of ideas for things for Henry and Claire to do, and thereafter settles into a fairly conventional soap opera, albeit with quite a bit of discreet male nudity to spice things up.
Originally optioned by Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston – evidently some time back – the movie now looks suspiciously like a dumbed down Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. If you found that film pretentious this sentimental tearjerker could be more to your taste.
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