Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife (***)

The Time Traveler's Wife. 104 mins. PG-13. Directed by Robert Schwentke. Written by Bruce Joel Rubin. Starring Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana, Ron Livingston, and Stephen Tobolowski.

The preview for the film adaptation of The Time Traveler's Wife looked pretty good. A weepy tearjerker aimed straight at the female demographic, sure, but an interesting one. Then came the reviews, which were all mostly negative. I had my doubts about the movie, but I'm happy to report that the final product is more in line with the promise of the preview than with the bad reviews. I haven't read the book by Audrey Niffenegger, but I bet it's a good read. The plot of The Time Traveler's Wife is like a Nicholas Sparks novel. Only cooler. Bana plays Henry, a man inflicted with some sort of time traveling symptom that makes him travel backwards and forwards in time without any control. He wakes up naked in different locations each time, on the run from people and frantically searching for clothes. The movie takes this premise, and adds a love story to it. How does a relationship work with a man who can disappear at any time and be gone for weeks with no indication of when he'll be back? That's the question posed here, and thankfully, we've got the exceptionally talented Rachel McAdams (as Claire) to answer it. I actually found the concept fairly romantic, and when the inevitable sad ending arrives, there's a definite impact that these kinds of movies usually lack. Yes, I'm talking to you, Message in a Bottle and Nights in Rodanthe. Is The Time Traveler's Wife sappy? Yes. Is it corny? Yes. Is the time travel concept non-sensical and preposterous? Oh yeah. But the movie works despite all this. Bana and McAdams are in fine form, and audiences looking for a serious romance could do a lot worse. Cough, Nights in Rodanthe, Cough, Cough.



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