The Time Traveler's Wife Review

Aug 13, 2009 | 3:00pm EDT


Henry can time travel — it’s in his genes. His favorite time-traveling destination is wherever Clare — his future doting wife who’s known her entire life that Henry is The One — is. It’s true that some women “just know ” but Clare really knows she’s destined to become “The Time Traveler’s Wife” because Henry the Time Traveler once told her so. And for whatever reason little-girl Clare actually believed this strange older man who lurked in the trees of her backyard meadow … naked. (Time travelers you see lose their clothes and wind up nude at no moment’s notice.) She’d set aside one of Daddy’s old outfits for him and on their dates (or perhaps tea parties is more accurate) he’d tell her intimate stories of their future together. A little creepy right?

It gets romantic — but not until she’s of age ahem. Eventually Clare and Henry meet in real time (and Henry hasn’t a clue who she is) and the two embark on a sweeping take-your-breath-away affair. Of course they marry and you’re convinced that Clare is the prettiest most patient most perfect woman in the world. After all her husband while dreamy often leaves her in the lurch — opening presents on Christmas Day … alone; picking up a broken plate a discarded outfit and eating dinner … alone. It sucks but — especially in Clare’s case — you can’t choose who you love.


At times  Eric Bana looks a little aged but time-traveling must be awfully taxing. He’s a fine Henry (his naked ass is a supporting character essentially) but he’s sort of stuck playing catch-up next to Rachel McAdams' Clare. McAdams is perfect. Her voice alone exudes soft tender love with every delivery of a line and the deep twinkle in her eyes so simply reads: “I deserve to be loved and to be taken care of … because I’m perfect.” You just want Bana to do her right and stop being a doofus or a creep (stop visiting six-year-old Clare!) and stop time-traveling. Because that’s what McAdams deserves.


Obviously McAdams. But to be fair it’s a good romance. It’s about really really really loving your lover through every disagreement disappointment ailment miscarriage tough decision bad-sweater gifting your-dad-is-a-Republican revelation and “I’m sorry my hair turned gray during our wedding … I time-traveled” apology. Oftentimes movies aren’t all that realistic when it comes to an entire-life telling of love. The Time Traveler's Wife is — except for the time-traveling part.


Well it’s no Notebook. Their love while lovely gets bogged down a lot by the peculiarity of Henry’s genetic condition. It could be a captivating romance from beginning to end but instead you’re left fact-checking the movie (Wait didn’t Henry say he couldn’t control his time-traveling? But wait he just now knew that he would disappear! WTF?!). And lovers of the best-selling book may leave feeling dissatisfied just FYI.


I cannot help but admit … I love the wedding. It’s outdoors with hundreds of lanterns hanging everywhere and Eric Bana’s salt ‘n’ pepper ‘do midway through the ceremony reminded me why I love him more than Brad Pitt in Troy. And time-traveling is way cooler than aging backwards so take that Benjamin Button.


Near the end the movie offers one fantastical “bright side” to having a time traveler for a husband. To get there McAdams does her infamous — and adorable — Notebook sprint (remember how she was always running after something in that movie? Usually Ryan Gosling …).

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