Main cast: Eric Bana (Henry DeTamble), Rachel McAdams (Clare Abshire), Jane McLean (Charisse), Tatum McCann (Younger Alba DeTamble), Hailey McCann (Older Alba DeTamble), Ron Livingston (Gomez), and Stephen Tobolowsky (Dr David Kendrick)
Director: Robert Schwentke
I couldn’t finish the book of the same name by Audrey Niffenegger, so I’m hoping that the movie version of The Time Traveler’s Wife will allow me to get a good idea of what the heck people are getting so worked up for over that book. I couldn’t get past Ms Niffenegger’s flat characters and literary pretensions, and I am hoping that the movie will be stripped of especially the boring prose that riddled the book.
Well, this could have been a pleasant, if rather unexceptional, romantic drama. Sure, it’s schmaltzy, it follows many tropes of romantic dramas, and cynics would feel like vomiting while watching this flick, but I like romantic movies. The fact that the lead characters are such easy eye candies only heightens the charm of this movie. The only thing is, I can never get into the story.
Oh yes, the story. Henry DeTamble is a time traveler. He has a genetic condition that sees him hopping through time. What? If a genetic condition allows one to control the weather, why not this? Don’t be such a nitpicking realist. Henry has minimal control over his condition, and yet this doesn’t stop him from starting a relationship with Clare Abshire.
Look, I know the guy is hot and the woman is gorgeous. I know the sexual attraction is there, and I give Henry plenty of credit for waiting until she’s legal before jumping her bones. But honestly now, that guy disappears from her life for an indeterminate time each time he “hops” through time. Why on earth would any sane woman marry this man? Worse, have a child to boot from this relationship? When Clare inevitably wails that she wants a more normal marriage, my only reaction is to tell her, “Oh honey, you should have seen this one coming. Sleep with him, love him when he’s in your life, but for heaven’s sake, why do you marry him and have a child with him?”
Not to spoil the movie too much, a sad ending is inevitable. Then again, if the book has a happy ending, only romance readers will dare to love that book and there won’t be a movie made where Eric Bana gets to show a little skin. Anyway, by the time the tearjerker moments roll in, I’m unmoved. Okay, perhaps I feel like shaking my head a little, because all I see on the big screen are two silly clueless dolts who allow their hormones to trap themselves into a miserable existence. Love is beautiful, yes, but sometimes, love isn’t enough, especially not in a relationship with a man who is going to be a deadbeat husband no matter what.
If Clare is naïve, then Henry, the older man, is selfish to even ask her to marry him But no matter whose fault it is, both characters are colossally stupid to take their relationship as far as to involve a child. Sorry, but I can’t muster up any sympathy, much less tears, for two dolts who step into a relationship which is obviously destined for heartbreak.
That’s the greatest failure of this movie, in my opinion – for such an unorthodox relationship to work, I must be convinced that the romance, the love, and all that jazz, is strong enough to warrant something as drastic as marriage and family. But all I get here is Clare for some reason falling for Henry for who knows what reason and deciding that he’s worth all the heartbreak he will inflict on her. The whole movie feels like a contrived excuse to become a tearjerker.