From watching the recently released The Time Traveler’s Wife, one would think that the book version was something akin to one of those paperback Danielle Steel novels with sentimental cursive titles that you see on supermarket shelves. After watching the movie, one would never suspect that it was actually based on a complex, fast-paced novel that combines romance of the realistic, non-sappy variety with unique, well-developed characters — a generous helping of action (which usually involved running away from police officers while naked, which is always fun and, for many University students, a relatable topic) — and an intriguing examination of the paradoxes of time travel. The reason for this misunderstanding is, in the movie version, the original story was brutally chick-flickified into a saccharine cross between The Notebook, with some dumbed-down science fiction elements on the side, and one of those made-for-TV Lifetime movies, complete with a scene of the couple running toward each other through a field of flowers.
Eric Bana plays Henry, who must deal with “chrono-impairment,” a genetic condition that causes him to unexpectedly and involuntarily travel in time. Both his condition and the conflicts that it causes in his life — including his relationship with Clare (Rachel McAdams) — are badly explained and largely cut out of the movie. The film simply has been narrowed down exclusively to the romance genre, and the only real consequence of his time travel examined in any detail in the movie is the fact that his unexpected disappearance causes problems in the pair’s marriage because Clare whines about being left alone and the difficulties of having children under these circumstances.
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This review worries me. I love the book. It is a beautiful love story about overcoming difficult odds. It’s not sappy and should not be depicted that way.
What do you think of the book compared to the movie? Were you happy with the movie? Why or why not?
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