I’ve long been of the opinion that the general move toward filming every book that gains a certain amount of momentum is one of the main things killing the cinematic world. Not all books should ever be filmed, and not just because the filming the real “work” of the book isn’t really possible. Of course, from a business perspective, having a built-in audience is always a plus, and so it will go on.
There is much to support the idea of being thus opposed to The Time Traveler’s Wife, a book that obviously gets the majority of its meat from internal dialog and struggle, but don’t be too quick to solidify your opinion along those lines.
The story is that of the curious love affair of Henry (Eric Bana) and Clare (Rachel McAdams). The monkey wrench that leads us into the story is that Henry travels through time. Putting together the ins and outs of the situation is practically impossible, but we can leave it at the general idea that he has little if any control over the phenomenon, and it happens to him pretty regularly. Suddenly finding himself in a new time, and naked, he usually just wanders around until he is snapped back to his present.
As we enter the story, we soon find that an older Henry has been visiting Clare since she was a child, and when they “meet” in the present, Henry has no knowledge of her, while Clare has finally found her lifelong friend (and hopefully love). They in fact fall in love (no surprise there, the idea is sort of in the title), and we watch as they try to cope with the odd affliction and lifestyle.
Something about Bana’s demeanor sucks you into the film. This is perhaps helped along somewhat by the quirky and blatant avoidance of making any comment about the whole time travel debacle we’re witnessing. Instead of trying to clarify anything in any way, you are left only to observe. It’s a good thing that the film has such qualities at work, because the whole nutty affair is rather easy to dismiss, and certainly still will be for many viewers. The film’s approach is a fine line to skirt in any case, because it’s rather hard to help asking yourself a lot of “why” questions.
Is the time travel just a goofy shtick that opens a more or less random excuse to have a love story, or is it actually doing any work? When the film doesn’t give us anything to latch onto, it’s a question that eventually becomes the elephant in the room.
I’m not sure where my particular spin on this story took off. It may have come from the subtle, downplayed performances which do not show our characters as being particularly unnerved by their situation. Or, it may have come from certain key scenes which stood out as overly “shown” to us – Old Henry stands in for himself to make sure his wedding goes off without a hitch. Henry disappears mid-jump when our couple, in an exceptionally childlike display, bounces on the bed. And many others I won’t discuss so as not to spoil things.
Whatever the cause, I have a sneaking suspicion that there is meant to be a kind of everytale at work. Don’t we all find our spouses “gone” for stretches at a time, or drifting in and out of younger or older versions of themselves? Don’t we all fall in love with the little girl our wives were… after we meet them, and don’t we discover that she had fallen in love with us long ago… only we didn’t turn out to be exactly that guy? When we get married, don’t we all look over and find ourselves staring at a pretty old person next to us? Don’t we all have conversations that span decades with our spouses… and don’t we rather frequently do it in the blink of an eye?
I mean, listen, there’s no such thing as time anyway, how do any of us travel through it?
The Blu-Ray release includes a digital copy of the film, The Time Traveler’s Wife – Love Beyond Words featurette, and exclusive Blu-Ray bonus, An Unconventional Love Story.
The standard featurette, Love Beyond Words, is along the line of your fairly standard behind-the-scenes work, but with more of a spin on the full journey of the story. McAdams, Bana, Director Robert Schwentke, and Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin are all involved, giving their own insights on getting the story to screen.
An Uncoventional Love Story finds McAdams and Bana going through key moments in the relationship with great detail. Fans of the film are really going to love this bonus, as the stars get very serious about their efforts to deliver their characters and the story. There’s something a lot more fun than your usual bonus material going on here, and you can tell that a great attention to detail was in both their minds.
The features run right around twenty minutes each.
While one might hope for more in the bonus category, this is a solid release.