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.