The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife

I read the novel version of The Time Traveler’s Wife a few years ago, and I loved it. It was really well done.   This weekend, we finally got around to going to see the film version, and I loved it too, just not quite as much.  I think that happens most of the time with books that are turned into films.  So much of the story has to be left out when you change the medium, it’s rare to find a film version that really works.   And I would say, this one did.

The premise of the story is that Henry has a genetic disorder that causes him to travel through time, back and forth.  He cannot control it, doesn’t know how to predict when or where it will happen.  But mostly he is drawn to magnet people, magnet events.  His mother’s death in a freak car accident, for example.  He finds that while he travels back and forth in time, he is mostly powerless to change events.  I say mostly, because while he cannot save his mother, he certainly changes the destiny of a little girl named Clare when he appears in the shrubs near her favorite meadow, stark naked and asking for a blanket to cover himself.  Clare grows up with these frequent visits, and she quickly falls in love with Henry.

While the time travel aspect makes the story sound like it might be science fiction, there is almost no science involved.  There is no explanation as to how this came about, and no cure is found for his disorder.  Instead, you are swept into a sweet and tender love story of two people, a story in which all of their time together is precious, and Clare spends much of her time waiting, hoping to see Henry again soon.  She says she would not have chosen this life, but feels helpless to fight it.  And having come to love Henry, she would not change it.

I’ll admit that I was a bit afraid to see the movie.  I didn’t think it would stand up to the book, that it would be too great a disappointment.  Perhaps because I read it about 3 years ago, enough time had passed, so I had forgotten a lot of details.  I’m not sure.  But I am sure that I’m glad we went.  It was very well done.  Warning:  bring a kleenex if you tend to cry at movies.  This was a two hanky love story.

13 thoughts on “The Time Traveler’s Wife

  1. 🙂 We almost went to see this yesterday. I think we’ll wait for Netflix. I’d like to read the book…this and my sisters keeper before seeing both movies. I like a good cry baby love story!

  2. You did a really nice job with this review, and I’ve read a lot of them in trying to decide whether or not to see this film. I read the book (a big deal for me because as a rule, I eschew modern fiction), and I liked it, too. There were parts that I thought were largely unnecessary, but I really admired how the author stuck to the premise, even when it wasn’t convenient to the plot. When the film came out, it was so roundly panned, especially by those who loved the novel, that I have avoided it. I agree with you about translating stories to film and would add that sometimes, it might be better to see them as two different entities entirely. While I might wait for this on DVD, I feel better about seeing it after all.

  3. Ted, I knew I was in trouble, because I was getting choked up at the preview for “The Lovely Bones”. When you start crying before the movie starts, you know that you’re in for it. Also, that you’ve turned into your mother. My mother, that is. 😉

    AM, yes, read the book. You’ll love it.

    Joan, it was a great read, wasn’t it?

    Nance, thanks! You made my day with your compliment. 🙂 I am such a fiction reader, I am interested in finding out what makes a non-fiction reader interested in fiction!

  4. Yes, Everyone READ THE BOOK!
    I loved the book. I loved the movie. I think my throat still hurts from trying to choke back the tears, which of course I eventually lost that battle and big fat drops fell.

    Eric enjoyed it to, thought that it was well done and he hadn’t read the book.

  5. Oh, wow! That is so odd! I was totally going to ask you what you thought of the movie version! I knew you read the book, so I was curious to hear what you had to say about the movie.

    I haven’t seen the movie yet (ummm…closest movie theater to the Island is 2 hrs away!!), but I loved the book!

  6. I think I cried just reading the plot line. I cried at Ghost, almost lost my contact lenses. But then again, I went to that movie not knowing the plotline at all.

    I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages, and when the movie came out with these two actors in the lead, I wanted to see it too. So should I read the book before the movie or vice versa?

    • Sorry Karen Meg, I hated Ghost. I’ve never been a Swayze fan, so it was hard for me to believe she would care that much that he was gone.

      How’s that for cruel and cynical? Still, it’s how I felt at the time. 😉

  7. I get cranky when I see the ad for this. It might have been a great book, I should probably give it a try, but it just seems so emotionally manipulative- the whole premise. Particularly cus they have such a wildly unrealistic plot. A DNA disorder makes him travel through the time? Um. K. No explanation as to why, no resolution as to the reason.

    I know that’s pretty close minded, but ever since ‘City of Angels’, a movie where they basically build a whole story up just to break you with the ending, I’ve kinda hated films that feel like they prey upon natural, emotional response.

    • Amuirin, I know what you mean. I hate feeling manipulated by films, and City of Angels was the worst for that. Then again, anyone who rides their bike on the side of a mountain with their eyes closed and no hands on the handlebars pretty much needs to die.

      I didn’t feel that way about Time Traveler’s Wife. And no, there’s no explanation as to how it happened. Not sci-fi at all. I read that the author explored the idea because her grandmother lived for 30+ years after her grandfather passed away, and still seemed to be deeply in love with him. Now if you want to be manipulated like crazy, read “My Sister’s Keeper”. OMG did I hate the ending of that book. I’ve heard they change it a bit for the movie, but still, I don’t care. I veto that movie. 😉

  8. Oh J! How I wish that I could have seen it with you. I read the book two years ago after you recommended it. Although I adore Rachel McAdams, the movie couldn’t possibly measure up to the book. Like you, I am glad that I saw it.

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