Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Director: Robert Schwentke

Starring: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams

Guest Review by Becki Pearson

So, let’s get down to brass tacks. Henry DeTamble (Bana) is a time traveling librarian that falls in love with Claire Abshire, a young and strong willed artist (McAdams). This film corners the battles of their unstable relationship and their determination to successfully continue their marriage. Although I feel like there are a lot of unanswered questions about the film, I still walked out of the theater next to 45 year old women, all with slappy smiles on our faces.

It is kind of hard to review this film without revealing most of the story. I will try my best to put spoiler alerts beforehand, but if you don’t want it to be ruined, I suggest not reading this at all.

So, Henry has a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel. One of the biggest problems that I had with the movie was the fact that they never really say from where this genetic problem generated. They don’t mention a father or elderly relative that involuntarily disappeared and woke up nude in a different time. It only started to happen to Henry when he was six years old after a major car crash that killed his mother. Besides that event being the opening scene to the film, we, as an audience, simply come to the conclusion that the car crash is somehow related to his newfound ability. But if his disorder is a genetic problem, then he would have been able to travel before the car crash occurred. They mention in the movie that TV’s and alcohol can “set him off”… and that’s it. They never explain why those things make him travel more frequently. They also quickly mention that stress can be a factor that effects ability, but then they show a montage of him time traveling, some that have nothing to do with stress related activities. For example, Henry and Claire were setting their kitchen table for dinner and when she turned around, all the plates were smashed on the floor and all that was there of him were his clothes. I seriously doubt that at that time of setting the supper table, Henry was stressed so high to the point of making himself travel to another time.

Another thing- Henry never traveled anywhere cool. It doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t spontaneously arrive in Medieval Times or during the Renaissance. Instead, he traveled to the back of alleyways and to the middle of fields. They weren’t even places that he had been before, which would make a little more sense.

Let me just say this- I think Eric Bana is adorable. I’m under the impression that he is a very talented and versatile actor, however I am not familiar enough with his work to have a strong opinion about him. Besides spending half the movie naked after time traveling (Because, ya know, clothes can’t time travel but humans can) I thought he did a pretty good job dealing with his character. Because of the nature of the film, it was already confusing trying to figure out where (or when) Henry was and the limited changes to his appearance didn’t help. The only thing they did to make him look a different age was add some gray to his hair or add 2 inches to the length. I have a feeling that any other actor could have preformed this role with equal or superior talent.

Instead, the hair stylists spent all of their time with Rachel McAdams during this film. She had an estimated 5423 different hair styles throughout the film and it became a game to see what her hair would look like the next rather than caring about her feelings as the wife of a time traveler. I think she did a pretty awesome job with her role, but then again, I think she’s awesome at everything she does.


So, alright. They, by the power of time traveling, have a daughter which they decide to name Alba. (Let me just quickly mention that they never explain why they named their daughter Alba. Only that Henry traveled to the future and heard her name being said. But... no real reason.) Of course, the daughter turns out to be a time traveler as well. Once again, this fact only supports my questioning that the disorder is in fact “a genetic problem” because the daughter travels when she is 4 years old. If it truly is a genetic disorder, Henry would have been able to travel early too, just like his daughter. Another thing- Why is it that the little 4 year old girl learns to control her traveling, but the 37 year old man can’t? That’s just stupid.

They mention in the story that Henry could not change the future; that destiny would always occur. He couldn’t go back to the night of the car crash and save his mother, but he could somehow cheat at the lottery and win his wife 5 million dollars. And here is my biggest problem with the film- If he didn’t go back and meet Claire when she was a little girl (aka change the future), she would not have loved him her whole life. If he hadn’t gone back, their love wouldn’t exist. That in itself is a HUGE contradiction. If he can’t change what’s going to happen, why could he go back and stalk this little 8 year old until she falls in love with him, but can’t go back and save his mother from dying? If he can’t change what is going to happen, then why can his daughter, who shares the same genetic ability, do it on a wim? At one point in the film, Claire looks out the window and sees her 4 year old daughter talking to her 9 year old daughter in the yard, which clearly changes the life of the 4 year old. Just imagine having a conversation with your future self. (Imagine if Marty had, in fact, run into himself?) It doesn’t make sense that he “can’t change what’s going to happen," when the entire movie revolves around him doing just that.

On the Becki Scale, I give it a solid 3. And that's just because Eric Bana is cute.

Thanks to Ben for letting his little sister add some "chick-flicks" to the blogsite. <3


Alan Trehern said...

As explained in Back to the Future II, if Marty does run into himself, a temporal rip may occur in the Time-Space continuum. But it may only be bounded to our galaxy.

But good review. Chick flicks shouldn't attempt to use time travel unless they want to explain the science. You can't just throw it in as a plot twist.

Ben Pearson said...

Nicely done, Bec. Any time you want to review something, just throw it on up here.

This movie sounds monumentally frustrating. I don't think I could have held in my rage if I saw this in a theater: I most likely would have bellowed at the screen, tried to flip my theater chair over, and walked out.

Head Hero said...

My girlfriend really wants to see this and I almost relented, but members of my family and members of her family both saw it and said it was not worth seeing (due to the monumental confusion).

Though I will probably end up seeing this because of my girlfriend's whims (she still wants to see it), I do suspect time travel should steer clear of chick flicks unless they take the time to explain the science behind it all.

Great review though!
I didn't read the thing at the top and actually thought this was Ben reviewing until the end! :]