The Time Traveler's Wife - Movie Opinion

When I first saw the preview for The Time Traveler's Wife I thought 'chick flick' however, the movie has a time travel component (one of my favorite sci-fi subjects) so I was interested to know more.

If you're a time travel fan too then this film will not only not disappoint but it also breaks all the 'rules' of time travel. However, having said that, it's also a great chick flick too (especially for Eric Bana fans).

As with all my movie opinions, this isn't a review as such, it's more of a commentary on what I found interesting. I'm assuming you've seen the film but if not I'll try not to write anything that will spoil it for you. If you don't know what the film is about then you may like to click the link in the first paragraph which will take you to the movies page on the Internet Movie Data Base.

Quickly, on the plot, Eric Bana plays Henry DeTamble, a man born with a genetic condition that causes him to involuntarily travel both forwards and backwards through time. He has some subconscious control over where he travels to (usually places he knows or at least within range of places he knows) but it not an exact science.

In one of his time travels he meets his future wife, Claire, as a very young girl and develops a friendship over time that eventually leads up to her, as a grown woman, meeting him before he has traveled back in time to meet her. Confused yet?

People who enjoy the pseudo-science of time travel will have a field day analyzing the time travel aspects of this movie to death. The rest of you - be well advised not to try and rationalize the logic of time travel in this film and take it at face value for what it is. All you need to keep track of is which Henry are you currently watching, Henry from the past, present or future?

I liked that Henry's ability to time travel is a genetic condition. It's not a new idea but as something he can't control it does present some interesting challenges for him and those who know of his ability to overcome.

It's also interesting that he appears to be the only known person in the world with this condition. I did like that the film did not spend too much time explaining what caused his condition (initially) nor did they go into too much detail when Henry finally seeks outside help to try and control what he has. The research of his condition seems plausible but doesn't actually explain anything.

What makes this film a real discussion point for time travel enthusiasts is that it breaks the one common rule amongst many time travel films and TV shows - meeting your future or past self. It's often thought that this could be a catastrophic event (think Doc Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future films explaining what could happen if Marty's Girl Friend met her future self). In The Time Traveler's Wife this is something of a casual event, happening multiple times.

Further to that, as in the Back to the Future films, meeting your past self could be catastrophic because you could change your future to the point where the future as you know it ceases to exist in a major way for your life.

What's problematic in The Time Traveler's Wife is that Henry claims that he is unable to change the future for major events (such as the death of his mother at the beginning of the film) yet he spends much of the film influencing the future and even using it to change his present financial circumstances.

There are also a number of paradoxes in the film such as when Henry and Claire are looking for a house to buy. The house they choose is based on a house that Henry has already seen in the future. If his experience of the house they choose is based on his visit to the house in the future then how did they come to be living in that house before Henry had seen it in his time travels?

The film makes no apologies for these paradoxes and, in fact, embraces them by pointing them out on occasion and simply accepting them without question.

As I said, if you're not a time travel buff, analyzing the technicalities of time travel in this film will only tear open major inconsistencies using a science that isn't real, only speculative.

For fans of time travel then, if you can get over all the so called 'rule breaking' and try to make sense of the time line, there's a lot of interesting discussion to be had. You may even find yourself buying the best selling novel this is based upon to find out more.

3 comments:

  1. Was wondering what this was like - can't remember if any reviews showed for it on the Carousel/Hoyts site.

    I like Time Travel films, but I'll probably get confused with all this plot, as I do try to analyse things!

    I've got three movie passes to use by February, so I hope the punched out hole includes February as well! Was waiting for something decent to come on.

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  2. I wouldn't worry about the complexities of the Time Travel aspect of this film too much. It's more about the relationship and the way it changes and evolves over time than it is about the time travel its self.

    So long as you know which Henry you're looking at (and they make it fairly easy to distinguish between them) you should understand and enjoy the film.

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  3. and he looks very nice with his shirt off :)

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