The Time Traveller’s Wife – a film review

The Time Traveller's WifeIt was probably a mistake that I watched the film version before finishing the book, which I was about to do in a couple of days. But last night was ideal for a Saturday movie night so the girlfriend and I decided to watch The Time Traveller’s Wife. Yes, it’s the movie adaptation of that best-selling novel of the same title by Audrey Niffenegger. A couple of weeks ago, I used my PowerBooks gift card to get myself a new copy of the book. Until last night I had finished reading 3/4 of the book.

I was surprised that Eric Bana was casted to play the role of Henry DeTamble, the protagonist who has a very peculiar genetic abnormality. He time travels. Without his control. Reading the book, I had completely no idea about the film’s actors, director etc. So I had a completely different mental picture and impression of who Henry was until I saw Eric Bana’s portrayal of him. It was a bit difficult to reconcile the two but after the first twenty minutes I got the hang of it and was enjoying Bana’s performance.

Starring opposite him was Rachelle McAdams whose portrayal of the lovable Clare Abshire made up for the fact that about 50%, or more, of the book was never seen on the film adaptation. Many parts of the book and the characters central to those parts which in turn were crucial in laying the foundation for Henry and Clare’s time-torn relationship were left out.

Not shown were the part when Henry was invited over to Clare’s apartment, meeting for the first time Gomez and Charrise, who would become their closest friends. Also cut was the Christmas dinner Henry had with Clare’s family. And the ever-reliable Mrs Kim and again, the dinner she hosted for Henry, Clare and his father after the two got engaged.

The book was published in 2004 and the movie premiered 2009. In that span of time, millions have already read the book and still do today, so after seeing the film, I was left kind of lost and really wanting for more. Judging by the reviews I’ve read on the web, I’m not alone on this one.

I know there’s a lot to put into a two-hour movie, so the logical approach, as is common with book-to-film projects these days, is have it in installment. What were the producers thinking? Come on Brad Pitt1.

Despite the huge shortcomings of the film, I enjoyed seeing the novel visualized. Having a few parts of the novel portrayed differently is forgivable, after all we were left to see a distilled version of the film; the struggle Henry and Clare went through because of the former’s chrono-impairment. A love story that literally endured time.

Another consolation was knowing that the movie’s ending is different from the novel’s, so I’m actually more excited now to finish reading the book because the film never really spoiled it.

Footnotes:
  1. Brad Pitt is the movie’s executive producer[back]

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