The Time Traveler's Wife
starring Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana, and Ron Livingston
directed by Robert Schwentke
screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin
based on the novel by Audrey Niffenegger
Alliance Films (2009)
Even though I had an inclination to read the book first, when the opportunity to sit down and watch this movie arrived I took it. Now that I've seen the film, I may still go back to read Audrey Niffenegger's novel just to see if I can better understand the convoluted tale the movie was trying to tell.
It's a love story about Henry (Eric Bana) and Clare (Rachel McAdams). Clare first meets Henry when she's six years old and playing in a field--but Henry is already a grown man. Turns out he's a time traveler, and an involuntary one at that. His strange ability came to him when he was a young boy and disappeared from the backseat of his mother's car just before it was struck by a trucking rig. He's then approached by an older version of himself who explains what is happening to him and that he better get used to it, because it's going to happen a lot. Oh, and his clothes can't go back in time with him, so he's always popping up somewhere stark naked--like a sappy John Connor.
Now while Clare may have been introduced to Henry when she was a child, in his timeline he doesn't meet her until he's in his thirties. At least I think he's in his thirties, but he might be in his late-twenties by that point. Bana's appearance changes so little beyond a bit of hair growth, some stubble, and a faint tinge of gray in his sideburns, that it's a trial to discern if he's his younger self or his forty year old self.
The story is all over the map and if you're not paying attention to every scene chances are pretty good that you'll get lost in the shuffle. The point of view shifts between Henry and Clare quite a bit, as we stick with Clare and her linear existence in time, then hang around with Henry as he is dipping and diving through time and always near Clare or his mother. The fits of time travel are caused by a bunch of things: stress, televisions, electro magnetism, and even alcohol.
Despite the meandering time lines, the plot basically sticks to the question of whether their relationship can withstand--quite literally--the test of time. And things become all the more complicated for them when Clare is to become pregnant and suffer a miscarriage at some point in the future. Buh-buh-BUH!
I thought it was an okay movie with some surprisingly mediocre acting from the cast, but I must admit to getting the tiniest bit misty at the very end of the film. What can I say, I don't get sniffy but I'm not a robot. For a date movie, this would be a pretty good one to go with if The Notebook isn't an option.