Movies: The Time Traveler’s Wife

A couple of years ago, when we were considering movies to watch, I mentioned The Time Traveler’s Wife as one I would be interested in. Whenever it came time to pick a movie to rent, however, I always bypassed this one. I knew I would end up fighting back tears at the end, as I had with the book. It’s hard to pick an evening’s “entertainment” that you know will make you cry.

My husband has tried in the past to find it available to watch online, but until yesterday had not succeeded. It being my birthday, he wanted to find something I would like. We ended up watching a couple of episodes of “Bones” (my choice), but he also made a note where to find this movie, and this afternoon we watched it.

I was very impressed by how well the essence of the story was translated to the screen from the novel. It’s been a few years since I listened to the audiobook, so I didn’t remember a lot of details. The one thing that I noticed that the movie lacked was more detail about Claire’s artwork (something that I had found very interesting in the novel because I had never imagined one could be such an artist just by making paper).

Reading reviews (after watching the movie) by others who had read and appreciated the book, I was reminded of characters and details I had forgotten. The fact that I had forgotten them, though – since I do have quite a good memory – shows that they were not at the heart of the story.

The movie gets across well the difficulties Henry’s time traveling creates both for him and for Claire. Henry has no control over when he leaves, what time or place he travels to, or when he returns. He always arrives nude, which often has him on the run, first for appearing nude in public and then for theft of clothing to cover himself.

Claire, to whom he first appeared when she was six, has been in love with him just about all her life (a source of confusion to Henry when he first meets her in his own timeline, since it was a future Henry who had been visiting her). She gladly marries him, but gets understandably upset at his unpredictable disappearances (including during his own wedding ceremony).

The reasons for the strains on their relationship are clearly different from that of everyone else, but the struggle to love another in spite of their difficulties is familiar to anyone in any kind of close relationship. It’s a movie about choosing love and the joy it brings despite the loss and sorrow that will also come.

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