The Time Traveler's Wife
- Director: Robert Schwentke
- Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi
- Cert: 15A
- Details: US/TBC
- Release Date: 14/08/2009
Story follows Eric Bana's Chicago librarian, who discovers at a very young age during a car crash (which kills his mother) that he has the ability to travel through time. His "jumps" are involuntary and mostly align with major occurrences in his own life. He can take nothing with him, not even clothes, so often ends up in the buff in the middle of nowhere. When he meets Rachel McAdam's insular Clare at 18, she tells him that she has known him for many years, but that he hasn't yet jumped back to the time that they will meet in his own presence. A lifelong romance ensues between the two, that see's Bana's traveller reappear at different points as older and younger to the present day Clare.
For the first twenty minutes or so The Time Traveler's Wife is a lot of work. The filmmakers try very hard to explain the complicated plot in a way that audience members who haven't read the book will understand. This only ever really half works, and all of the characters suffer as a consequence. The scenes, by their very nature, are quite short, making it difficult to become absorbed in their predicament. It does pay off eventually; by the end you can't help but be sucked in, but that doesn't mean that it makes enough sense, or works well enough as a science fiction/romance hybrid to suspend disbelief without some form of context. Nothing is explained or expanded upon, which will leave some with a baffling aftertaste.
Performances are nice all round; Bana is solid if maybe slightly miscast, while McAdams lights up the screen every time she smiles. A surprisingly chubby Ron Livingston makes a supporting appearance, creating enough of a comedic impression that you wish there was more of him. But the direction from Schwentke is forceful, and lacks assurance; the core material here has enough emotional weight to work, without an intrusive score and blatantly dubbed lines.
Ultimately it just tries in vain to thread that difficult middle ground between pleasing fans of the book, and finding a new audience for its entire running time - which may result in the alienation of both. There is a really good film in there somewhere, though, it's just a shame this isn't it.
Review by Mike Sheridan | 09:00 | Friday 14th August 2009 | Movie Review
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