Now You See Him, Now You Don't
If youíre married to a time traveler, you need the patience of a saint. The Time Travelerís Wife emphasizes the problems involved in such a marriage. However, even though co-stars Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams have turned in terrific performances in other films, they canít overcome the difficulties this disappointing drama burdens them with. And, because of an illogical plot, the movie often evokes chuckles instead of compassionate sighs. Why the time travelerís clothes donít travel with him adds to the head-shaking nature of the story, but Bana at least gets to show off his buffed-up bod.
Based on Audrey Niffeneggerís popular novel of the same name, The Time Travelerís Wife focuses on the relationship between Henry De Temble (Bana) and Clare Abshire (McAdams). Henry has been involuntarily traveling through time most of his life, so heís visited Clare frequently, beginning when she was only 6 years old. Depending on which visit, Clare recognizes Henry but he doesnít know her or Henry knows Clare but she doesnít recognize him -- which contributes to the confusion about whatís happening on screen. After they marry each other, things get even more frustrating for this unusual couple. Henry disappears at some crucial moments, such as right before the wedding ceremony and during the holiday season. Is their love strong enough to stand the test of time -- and time traveling? Thatís the question weíre supposed to care about here.
Unfortunately, I canít remember when Iíve had such a hard time becoming emotionally involved in a love story as I experienced while watching The Time Travelerís Wife. Too many distractions took me out of the movieís flow, and it started with the opening scene showing Henry as a young boy riding with his mother (the wonderful Michelle Noldan) in a car. For example, Alex Ferris (The Invisible) looks more like I imagined McAdamsí character would look as a child -- so when I found out it was Henry, I couldnít help thinking how wrong this casting choice seemed to be -- but through no fault of the fine actor playing Henry as a young boy. Also, Bana (Lucky You) and McAdams (Red Eye) fail to generate the kind of chemistry needed for great screen lovers. Yes, they take part in passionate love-making scenes, but the spark is missing in their other interactions, which appear quite disjointed most of the time.
As someone who usually enjoys time-travel love stories, I have to thank The Time Travelerís Wife for making me appreciate Kate and Leopold and Somewhere in Time even more now.
(Released by New Line Cinema and rated ďPG-13Ē for thematic elements, brief disturbing images, nudity and sexuality.)
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