Film & DVD Reviews: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Time Traveler's Wife DVD cover

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Okay – this is a good film, sentimental yes but not too sentimental – there is a happy ending – well sort of…would I urge you to see the film/buy the DVD – yes. Now that that’s out the way – and in counter-culture style – let me say that the interesting things from this film are: Time Travel! (Its mechanics and possibilities) and Survival of the Spirit/Soul/Personality.

Much to my wife’s annoyance I kept on asking questions about the nature of the time travel in the film and its plausibility – these were rebutted with “there is no time travel gene” and “it’s fiction!”. She’s right of course. But I wonder if in the book (which I haven’t read) there is a deeper explanation of the nature of time travel as depicted (and its gene!) – after all, all pieces of art need their internal integrity don’t they! There has to be legitimate continuity. If anyone has read the book and has thoughts on this – please link up. You see, Henry, the main character seemed to be able to travel backwards and forwards in time (but only within the boundaries of his physical life – though within this restriction he could travel beyond his “natural” physical span. Telling more would give away too much detail). The time traveler’s  – should I write “traveller’s” here? – wife is the constant where as her (future) husband melts into and out of her life from when she is a little girl. Some great ideas develop…and (again without giving the plot away) he CONTINUES to play a part in her life – as if in someway he has a perpetual multi-bodied existence(s). And it is at this point that I can’t help but consider that the time travel consists of body AND mind and whereas the body may stop – perhaps the mind could travel beyond mundane experience. I suppose it was too much to expect the film to get into existential questions beyond the already disquieting (compulsive) disappearances and naked reappearances of Henry. But I do know that the theory of time travel currently only allows for travel into the future and then back to where and when the travel began! So you could travel on a Monday and go into next year (or a thousand years) but you’d always come back to that Monday at the earliest!!! I must be a pain to watch a film with.
It’s a romantic, effecting film BUT the time travel is the poignant part. If we love someone now – might we love them before we knew them? When they were very young? That should get a few thoughts spinning. Also – if Henry hadn’t appeared to the six-year old Claire, would their love have matured as adults? Is love a continuum, as time appears to be to us?
If the mind IS un-physical or even partly so – what’s to say that that WE might not have the ability to loose ourselves into eternity – just that we’d lack the body and physical senses to convey that experience!
I’ve seen a few films recently that have time as a theme – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (surprisingly good) being one – time is something we perceive as well as experience and it may not be as constant or as fixed as we’d like to think. The Time Traveler’s Wife has made me re-engage my thoughts on time and our responsibility towards our use of it.

Reviewed by Tim Bragg

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2 Comments »

  1. Apologies – Claire should have been spelled Clare and I managed to “thats”!!! I’m interested in comments from those who have read the book and have insights into its ideas.

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  2. I watched this last night on DVD. I liked it a lot. It was romantic and a little sad. An unusual theme that raises some interesting questions about time.

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