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Movie Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Posted by on Aug 30th, 2009 and filed under Movies, Videos. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

by Rod Gustafson
August 29, 2009
Time Traveler’s Wife

Some wives complain that their men don’t spend enough time with them. For Clare (Rachel McAdams) the issue is even more of a problem because her husband Henry (Eric Bana) was born with a rare genetic disorder causing him to involuntarily travel through time. Despite the obvious challenges, Clare does all she can to maintain their relationship.

In-Depth Review

Post Grad is rated PG-13: for thematic elements, brief disturbing images, nudity and sexuality.

All of us are born with a few genetic anomalies, but for Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana), his “defect” is far more difficult to cope with than buckteeth or a bad knee. While going about his daily routine, he will suddenly disappear. Pulled into a random time and place, Henry is an involuntary time traveler—and it makes focusing on any aspect of his life particularly difficult.

Working at his job as a research librarian (we can only assume he has very generous extended health benefits) he bumps into Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams). She says she has been waiting for this moment and insists that she knows him very well. Hesitant, but willing to accept her assertion that they are/were/will be best friends, the pair begins (or perhaps continues) their serious relationship back at her apartment.

If it seems Clare has fallen madly in love too quickly, sporadic flashbacks will eventually justify her passion. These occur whenever Henry is hit by one of his spells, allowing us (the audience) to see various parts of his life. These include quiet moments, like Henry as an adult visiting with Clare during her childhood. We also share pivotal events and other destiny changing encounters, such as the horrifying crash that took his mother’s life (this is shown from the prospective of young Henry sitting in the back seat of the car). Some of these incidents involve blood and/or injury, but explicit violence isn’t shown.

time_travelers_wifeThis female-skewed movie will more likely draw adults than teens, but parents of prospective attendees should be aware of a few glitches they’ll have to navigate while following this traveler. One involves the only scientific technicality addressed in this movie: Henry must (conveniently) leave his clothes behind every time he sets sail for a new destination. Hence we see many shots of Bana’s bare buttocks. (We get a view of McAdams’ nude backside too, during a scene where she crawls out of bed). Another is that our naked protagonist is forced to learn how to steal clothes at each location. Smashing car windows, picking locks and evading police are all part of his routine. Other potential problems come from discussions surrounding conception, a miscarriage and a vasectomy—all relatively serious adult sexual themes. As well, during part of their portrayed sexual relationship, Henry and Clare are not married.

A romance with a sci-fi twist, The Time Traveler’s Wife wisely focuses on the couple’s relationship and later, the care of their child. Thanks to solid performances from Bana and McAdams, the resulting emotions are surprisingly authentic considering the fantastical premise. Moments of mild humor help the script too, such as when surrounding characters—friends, a genetic specialist and policemen—are appropriately surprised and shocked when Henry dissolves into the 4th dimension. Although parents may want to use caution when considering this title for younger viewers, the captivating and emotionally involving story of The Time Traveler’s Wife allowed this film to travel through two hours of my life with relative ease.

Studio: 2009 New Line Cinema. Visit the official movie site.

Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings…

This romance with a sci-fi twist contains many views of rear male nudity (in a non-sexual context) and one scene of rear female nudity. A couple of scenes depict pre-sexual activity, including one where a man touches a woman’s breasts (with clothes on). A man is frequently seen stealing clothing and breaking into cars and buildings. A car accident is shown from the interior view of a car, which is spinning out of control—a child passenger has blood on his hands. As well, an exterior view shows the car hit by a truck and bursting into flames. A man is seen with bloody injuries on a couple of occasions, once from an accidental gunshot. A pregnant woman discovers blood on her pants and in her bed. The script includes discussions surrounding conception, miscarriage and vasectomy. A non-explicit birthing scene is included. A father teaches his child how to pick locks. Language includes a couple of uses of scatological slang, several terms of deity, a few mild profanities and one milder substitution for a sexual expletive. A man discusses using prescription tranquilizers. A man cheats in a lottery.

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie…

When complaining about living with her husband’s condition, Clare exclaims that she “never had a choice.” How would knowing your future remove or distort the your opportunity to pick your options? Do you think the risks of knowing your future would or would not outweigh the benefits?

Source: Parent Previews

Editor’s Note: Rod Gustafson has worked in various media industries since 1977. He founded Parent Previews in 1993, and today continues to write and broadcast the reviews in newspapers, on radio and (of course) on the Internet. He currently serves as the President of the Alberta Association for Media Awareness, a provincial non-profit society. He also authors a regular column for The Parent’s Television Councl in Los Angeles. He and his wife Donna have four children.

We would like to know what you think? dan@goldcoastchronicle.com

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