- Running time:
- 107 minutes
- Rachel McAdams -
- Eric Bana -
- Arliss Howard -
- Richard DeTamble
- Ron Livingston -
- Stephen Tobolowsky -
- Dr. Kendrick
Ever since he was a child, Henry (Eric Bana) has had a genetic disorder that forces him to travel through time without warning. He's constantly disappearing from the present and turning up somewhere else, naked and disoriented, left to fend for himself until he can get back to his current life. Then he meets Clare (Rachel McAdams), who tells him she's been in love with him since she was a child. Henry doesn't know her yet, but in his future (and Clare's past) he'll visit her often, becoming her best friend. Meeting as adults, they fall in love. But it's not easy to have a relationship when you never know where (or when) you're going to be.
The buzz: Based on the popular bestseller by Audrey Niffenegger and adapted by "Ghost" screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin, "Time Traveler's Wife" was filmed in the fall of 2007 and originally scheduled for release last year. The movie's arrival was supposedly postponed by scheduling conflicts involving reshoots. Still, the delay and low profile August release aren't very encouraging signs of quality. Neither is the involvement of director Robert Schwentke ("Flightplan").
The verdict: The blessing and the curse of time travel fiction is that you can pretty much make up your own rules. "Time Traveler's Wife" opts to function solely as straight-up sci-fi romance—Henry can't really change anything when he travels, so there are no crimes to solve, people to help or special tasks to perform—which would be just fine if anyone involved with the film bothered to develop the relationship beyond the superficial. Bana and McAdams are game, delivering solid performances in shallow characters, but there's little passion in their pairing. The movie is earnest and flat, failing to even match the easy romantic escapism that made a blockbuster out of "Twilight." Henry's journeys inevitably bring up universal questions about free will vs. fate (do Henry and Clare fall in love because they want to, or because they have to?), but the movie doesn't have much to actually say about any of that. The only goals are to make the audience swoon and tear up. Sounds simple enough, but apparently it's not.
Did you know? The time-bending nature of Henry and Clare’s relationship occasionally recalls “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and “Button” helmer David Fincher was actually one of the directors initially interested in bringing this story to the screen. Steven Spielberg also considered it, and Gus Van Sant was in negotiations to direct.
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