The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)


Look, we all know that novel to film adaptations are a dime a dozen nowadays since nobody in Hollywood can come up with anything remotely original, and because these adaptations are so commonplace now, the quality of translations (from novel to film) has been greatly reduced. I’ve heard of the tragedy that is Twilight, but I won’t comment on that one because I have never seen the movie nor read the book. HP6 faced a lot of disappointed viewers (at least from my side of the world). This one, Audrey Niffenegger’s bestseller, has just joined that pitiful list.

Let’s start with the good points (yes, the movie does have some). Rachel McAdams was a near-perfect Claire Abshire, the time traveler’s wife. She was the Claire I had imagined in the book – young, spirited, hopeful, emotional. I suppose the only fault I could find was that I believe she did better in “The Notebook” than in this film when it came to being emotional. Eric Bana, on the other hand, did not fare as well in my opinion. I know he did his best, but he just never felt like a Henry who was a librarian for me. He was too muscular to be the thin but lean Henry I had pictured while reading the book.

As for the plot itself, there were very few instances worthy of being commended. One was the addition of the scene in the train wherein adult Henry finds himself face to face with his mother in one of his time travels. Another would be the bits of humorous scenes sparsely distributed in the movie to keep the crowd from falling asleep.

Yes, it was dull and dragging for the most part. It didn’t help that the scenes shifted from one to the next at the same time you were shifting in your seat to keep yourself awake (choppy, in other words). Also, it seems that the classic error of merely selecting scenes from the book to use in the movie without sewing them together seamlessly was committed. It was understandable that scenes from the book had to be cut — you can expect that from ANY novel to film project — but this movie cut out the important ones that explained a lot of things towards the latter part of the movie. Because most of the necessary exposition was removed or given AFTER THE FACT (e.g. the importance of Henry’s running, or learning to pick locks), the audience members failed to react to crucial events because they didn’t understand their significance. This was the movie’s biggest mistake: the failure to provide adequate exposition to events and characters that needed it.

It’s just sad that such a beautiful book was not given due justice by its film counterpart. The movie tried to, but in my humble opinion, it just flat out failed.


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