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The Time Traveler’s Wife Review

timetravelers wifeThis feature film adaptation of a best selling novel by Audrey Niffenegger reportedly had its fair share of production problems having undergone numerous re-shoots and release date changes before hitting the big screen this weekend. In many ways when the film started (sans any opening credits) it felt like I walked into the theater late as it almost seemed like the front section of the movie was hacked off in the editing room. I was a little bit confused right from the get go and that’s never a good thing when trying to get into a movie. A normal structure of a beginning, middle and end just felt out of whack here as I felt fairly detached from the story for the first 30 minutes or so.

As for the story, Eric Bana (Funny People) plays Henry, a guy who has a disorder that makes him disappear into thin air without his control, emerging into the past, present or future while leaving his clothes behind in a pile on the floor. As a boy, Henry (Alex Ferris) escaped death through time travel. His mother (Michelle Nolden), an opera singer, was not so fortunate; she died in the same automobile accident. Now Henry is a librarian who occasionally visits his father (Arliss Howard), a violin teacher.

time travelers wife 1During one of his time travel episodes Henry meets the future love of his unusual life, Clare (Brooklynn Proulx), when she is a six-year-old. They talk and establish a bond, and then he mysteriously vanishes.Since he has no control over this ability there is no way to guarantee which version of himself will return; the same one who left or a younger or slightly older version of himself.  

When grown up Clare (Rachel McAdams) shows up in his life, Henry is swept away by her enthusiasm. Since she has loved him since she was a young girl, Clare is used to his sudden disappearances. Once they eventually marry, they clash over whether or not to bring a child into the world with this bizarre genetic dysfunction known as Chrono-impairment. This is as deep this material gets.

Any juice the film has is supplied by the likebility of its leads, Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. I have been championing McAdams ever since The NoteBook and feel she should be a household name at this point and blame her agent that she’s not. Her passing up the Pepper Potts role in Iron Man was a big career mistake and disappering from mainstream work for two years hasn’t helped her cause either. Actually I get the same feeling watching her as I did with Julia Roberts and Charlize Theron when they first stated to light up the big screen in films like Sleeping with the Enemy and Might Joe Young. Whatever it is that makes the camera love you she has in spades. As for Bana,while his character isn’t fleshed out all that well he makes the most of his screen time with his easy going manner.

Robert Schwentke (Flight Plan) directs this romantic drama in a fairly laid back fashion and its choppy pacing, especially in the film’s first half, doesn’t exactly overwhelm. It’s not until the last act that the movie hits its stride and you really start to care about this couple in love. The addition of their daughter when she’s ten years old also gives the story some needed spark. The film also relys on the gimmick of having Henry arrive in another time nude. It goes on a few times too many with him constantly stealing clothes when he reappears.  

While I haven’t read the novel this film is based on, I understand the original story is pretty complex. This film’s screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost) is not. It’s a pretty straight forward effort without much surprise or depth and, especially at the story’s beginning, is quite confusing. While there was a few genunine moments of real emotion in “The Time Traveler’s Wife” there aren’t enough to make this anything other than a watchable OK film that will probably play better on cable than it does in a movie theater. I can only hope that McAdams eventually gets that one role that makes her the movie star she deserves to be. Unfortunetly The Time Traveler’s Wife isn’t it. 2.5 zombies out of 5

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August 17, 2009 - Posted by | Reviews |

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