REEL REVIEW: THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE

The Time Traveler's Wife Poster

Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife
Screenwriter: Bruce Joel Rubin
Director: Robert Schwentke
Release Date: August 14, 2009
Synopsis: A Chicago librarian has a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, creating complications in his marriage.

The Absence of Free Will

The main issue I took with The Time Traveler’s Wife, which is an issue for most adaptations that don’t meet my expectations, is that the movie does not include significant plot points from the book, but add events to the movie that never occurred. It usually makes for a terrible adaptation. The Time Traveler’s Wife creates this adaptation faux pas by forgetting that the common thread throughout this story is free will that leads to the inevitable. The movie actually commits this faux pas at least two times during some pivotal moments. The first adaption faux pas is when Henry and Clare going house hunting. The second obvious faux pas is when Clare and Henry are trying to get pregnant. Throw the whole scene in the trash because the movie really missed the mark. The adapters took the lazy route with the book’s free will concept, so the movie is diminished from the lack of nuance from the source material.

A Mis-Cast of Characters

Another issue I had with this adaptation was that the characters were so one-dimensional compared to their bookish counterparts. The main culprit is definitely Ron Livingston’s version of Gomez. Livingston got Gomez’s dickish characteristics down, but he was missing Gomez’s charm and humor. It also felt like the movie was trying to recreate The Notebook (but with time travel) with Rachel McAdams as Allie Clare and Eric Bana as Ryan Gosling’s understudy because this adaptation was too sappy for no reason when the source material is the opposite. Where were the rebellious Gen X punks? Where was the smart dialogue? Where were the dynamic relationships? Where was Mrs. Kim? I fell in love with some smart and funny characters while reading The Time Traveler’s Wife and was disappointed to see those characters fall completely flat on the screen.

Overall Opinion

This review could have easily turned into another rant, but I tried to keep the rantiness at bay because I knew what I was getting into. I specifically chose to read The Time Traveler’s Wife because it was considered one of the worst adaptations. Although, it’s not at the top of my list of worst adaptations (that distinction still belongs to The Giver), The Time Traveler’s Wife adaptation is no bueno. It was beyond disappointing to watch a rich story be watered down to almost nothingness on screen.

The Final Grade

Burnt Popcorn: The only parts this adaptation seemed to get right were the names of the characters and the fact that Henry is a time traveler. The movie dropped the ball when it came to capturing some of the most important and pivotal events in the story, so anyone who enjoyed reading The Time Traveler’s Wife should avoid this adaptation at all costs because it’s just a melodramatic mess.

Your Turn

So…do you think The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of the worst adaptations? Did the movie remind you of The Notebook? Let us know in the comments! |RL

P.S. Want more Time Traveler’s Wife? Read the book review!  Join the quotefest!

2 Comments

  1. 100% agreed. I really disliked this movie. My husband watched it with me and while he didn’t read the book, he also really didn’t like the film. He said it didn’t flow well and he kept getting confused. I totally agreed, and I had read the book!

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