Finally, I got to go see The Time Traveler's Wife, my favorite book of all time on screen. First of all, for those of you who have never read the book READ THE BOOK BEFORE YOU SEE THE MOVIE. You will not regret it. And then after you read the book and go see the movie, read this review.
The thing that I loved most about the movie was how it felt like the book visually and emotionally. The sets were perfect and the prop details were like the frosting on the cake of its perfection. When I saw the naked Barbies at the end of Clare’s bed after Henry’s death I knew that the people who made this film just got it - they understood. Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams played their roles flawlessly. I was particularly impressed with Eric Bana because I was so skeptical about his ability to pull it off. I knew Rachel McAdams was going to be wonderful because I’d seen enough of her movies to have faith in her acting capabilities. Eric Bana was a complete and totally welcome surprise that I couldn’t have been happier with. He was adorable and I grew to love him. The thing I was most afraid would happen in the movie adaptation of this book was that the screenwriter and director would lighten up the story with sugar and fluff like a Nicholas Sparks book aka give it the ‘Sparkle’ effect (gag) This is why I was so happy that they included my favorite scene in the book in the movie, which is when Clare miscarries while her and Henry are sleeping. Although it didn't quite play out the way it does in the book the fact that they were brave enough to put that scene into the movie made me very, very happy. The reason why I love that scene so much is because I feel like it's a true representation of what love can be like sometimes - messy and unattractive. I was also surprised by the humor and how seamlessly it was incorporated into the film without being inappropriate to the story's generally serious tone. The last 30 minutes of the film I was just in tears. It started a little bit when Henry and Alba meet at the zoo and then came full on as soon as you saw the Happy 5th Birthday decorations. The way they handled the anticipation of the death was beautiful. The only thing I was disappointed about was the ending. I understand why they changed it though. If they had kept the book ending with an 80 something year old Clare it would have been too devastating. In the book it wasn't Henry's death that kept me sobbing for four hours after I finished the last page - it was the waiting and frustration of Clare that killed me and then the realization that it wasn't until she was close to death that she finally got to see him again. I know if they had kept the original ending I know I would have sobbed much longer than past the theater and for that I am strangely grateful that they didn't keep with it. And the ending that they wrote in was still sweet enough that I am able to forgive the screenwriter and director. I loved it how they didn't make the relationship too sexy (which is always the temptation with film) but more sweet and tender. The other thing that I love about the book and now the movie is that it's a story more about staying in love rather than falling in love, which is an odd thing in entertainment these days. We need more romantic marriage stories! I am tired of the teen stuff. Hopefully his movie proves to Hollywood that stories like this can thrive on the big screen. Really, the only thing I wanted from this movie was for it to remind me again of why I love this untraditional romance so much and it did that. Mission accomplished.
PS. The handprint was poignant and beautiful. What a great symbolic addition to the film.