The Time Traveler's Wife Reviews
Ladies, if you're looking for that single shred of romance to take the edge off this summer's testosterone-laden action flicks and brightly-coloured childrens box office movies, look no further, The Time Traveller's Wife is here.
Manufacturing magic by means of venerable sci-fi; time travel, this sentimental, complex and often confusing chick-flick embraces two key characters attempting to navigate their eternal star-crossed love whist transcending one's involuntary affliction to spontaneously disappear without warning weave in-and-out of the space-time continuum.
The commercial obligation to turn popular books into big screen blockbusters is once again self-evident as screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin adapts best-selling novel of 2003 Audrey Niffenegger's, The Time Travellers Wife.
Lost in the detail and failing to capture the essence of the novels well described all-consuming fiery love, Rubin's Oscar winning pedigree flailed after the success of 1990's Ghost, leaving this illogically plotted film teetering giddily between the tragic and touching without nailing either.
Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) has a rare chromosomal abnormality, the ability to inadvertently catapult through time, travelling in jumps of plus or minus 20 years. The erratic remote-control- -flipping has a further sadistic twist spiting him out wherever he lands perpetually on the run for his life stark naked.
Henry's tendency to "disappear" at key moments in his life; such as the moment of impact in a car crash that kills his mother, has turned him into something of a haunted loner.
One day when tripping around naked in the past, Henry (at about 40ish) encounters a confident and pretty six-year-old little girl named Clare (Brooklynn Proulx) in a summery meadow. After a pattern of regular trips, Henry convinces Clare of his uniqueness and a decade spanning relationship of infatuation beings.
When a grown up Clare (Rachel McAdams), runs into her beau in "current" time, the now young woman is eager for the embrace she's been anticipating for years. However, as he hasn't yet travelled back in time to that sunny meadow, the object of her affection hasn't a clue as to who this starry-eyed girl is.
Already warned of this by the older visiting Henry, Clare presents an irresistible dinner invitation and takes to the role reversal determined to now make him believe.
Attempting to not give too much away, the story plays out on several levels. Reaching emotional highs (like narrowly making his wedding suddenly with grey hairs) and lows (when attempting to have a baby, it displays the same travel tendencies resulting in numerous miscarriages, and Clare's lonely pining whilst waiting in limbo for her husband's return).
Avoiding the quasi-science angle of time-traveling philosophy, an explanation to the reason behind his travels' is never forthcoming. The story does raise many impossible questions; What does the future hold? What about babies? Can he prevent death? But the one that played on my mind; If he jumps for extended periods at a time, how does he hold down a job? (obviously not the point but a definite distraction).
The intrinsic loopiness of this sometimes charming narrative is somewhat gimmicky and unable to transcend modern cynicism. Painting improbabilities of destiny, this non tear-jerking love story featuring a physically absent hubby is not profound in any manner.
Eric Bana turning up nude (a minimum of ten times) does help to conceal his lack of dramatic acting chops (excuse the pun), but only temporarily. The pleasant chemistry with McAdams meanders never quite being funny nor charming, moving nor romantic.
The unassumingly gracious Rachael McAdams delivers a terrific and stirring performance. With her subtle but stunning screen presence and her ability to always knowing just how much is enough, McAdams is a young lady who often feels as though she might have hailed from another era, a luminous class act whose reputation is richly deserved.
The Verdict: Good story and exceptional actress plus bad script and bland actor equals so-so movie. This is one of those movies you want to like but its flimsy and lifeless material is too frigid to reach the intimacy required. This full-bodied cappuccino romance delivers on the warm and fuzzy feelings, but leaves dregs at the bottom of the cup. Curling up and reading the original in all its comfy armchair splendour would be a much more beneficial pursuit.
Published : The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication : 13.11.2009