The Time Traveller's Wife is the Award winning debut novel of American author Audrey Niffenegger, which was published in 2003. It was soon made it to a film in 2009 and was directed by Robert Schwentke. This film is about love, time travel, fate and in a strange way grooming.
What is this film about?
This film opens with a young boy (Henry) and his mum singing along in the car together as they drive through a snowy night. Suddenly the car is about to crash, and the little boy freaks out and ends up traveling back in time. He quickly reappears back in his own time where he is met by his older self, which explains to the boy that his mother has just died and that he is a time traveller. We follow the older Henry back to his time where he soon bumps in to a women he has never seen before, but she knows him very well. She manages to get him to have dinner with her, where she explains that she is in love with him, as she has known him all her life, also that she knows that he is a time traveller. She explains that this is all because a older version of him used to visit her a lot when she was growing up.
My views on it
One of the most interesting things about this film and what makes it different to most romance films, is in fact the element of time travel. Saying that this is the part of the film where it is heavily flawed. I will explain, in the film Henry claims that he cannot change what happened to this mum when he goes in to the past, he cannot save her. This presents to the audience the idea that he has no effect on the past, he is just simply a spectator of times gone by. But the film also presents the idea that he can change the past as well. As the older henry meets his future wife (Claire) several times when she growing up and this is what makes her fall for him and look for him when she is older. So because of this he does have an effect on the past. But yet there is more evidence that he doesn’t effect the past at all. When he does go back in time he starts off naked as his clothes can’t travel with him, so he has to break in to places and steal clothes and money just to get by. If he did effect the past this would have a butterfly effect and would alter future, even if just by a little but when he comes back to the present it is exactly how he left it. This goes to show that the time travel in this film is completely broken as it contradicts its self at every turn.
Another problem with the time travel is that she first meets him when she was younger and because of this she looks for him when she is older. Due to them meeting when they are older this is why he ends up going back to meet her when she is younger. This is broken as well as he never would have meet her in the past if she didn’t meet him when she was older and this would not have happen if he didn’t meet her when she was little.
Beside theses clear problems this film has, it is about this infinite loop that theses lovers are stuck in and that it will never change. It comes clear that their love story has been played out numerous times and that it is set to just repeat itself over and over again. So this story is based around this fate that has been created for them. Due to this it loses some of its romance for me. Because of this fate the character lose their free will, their choices are not really their own, their already prewritten. Without this element chaos and free will, the romance is cheapen. For me the great thing about love story’s is the ‘will they, wont they’ situation, the the magic of the off chance of them meeting, the fear of them breaking up and the joy of them getting back together. Without this situation, without this unpredictability that these could or could not happen the story just loses its thrill and the romance is less magical because of it.
I know I have ripped in to this film a lot but it has a few good things about it. The acting was good, the time travel element is an interesting take on the romance genre even if it didn’t really work and there are some heartfelt moments in this film which are great, my favourite is when he meets his daughter for the first time. So this film does have its good parts it’s just when you start to analyse it the cracks start to show.
Clare Abshire: No. I didn't mean that. I just wanted to try it, to say it, to assert my own sense of free will, but my free will wants you.