Saturday, August 15, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW: The Time Traveler's Wife

I went to see "Time Traveler's Wife" this afternoon. It was better than I expected, considering that I loved the book by Audrey Niffenegger and was somewhat dreading seeing it mangled on screen. But overall I thought it was pretty well done, and I think anybody who liked the book will enjoy it.

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In general I thought the scriptwriter did a reasonably good job of adapting the book to film (which can't have been easy, considering the complexity of the story and the constant shifts back and forth in time).

Some parts of the story were condensed or altered slightly (the first time Henry travels as a child, for example, which combines two separate incidents from the book into one scene) but I thought it was done in a way that stayed true to the spirit of the book. (We can only hope that the scriptwriter for the eventual OUTLANDER movie will manage to do the same!)

And speaking as someone who knows the book well, I thought there was only one scene that was left out that should have been included: the scene at the very end where Henry comes to see Clare when she is an old woman. (I suppose they thought it was superfluous, but I love that scene.)

I didn't like the way they turned the list of dates into a diary. In the book, Clare says she wrote down all the dates from a list that Henry dictated to her as a child, and which he in turn memorized from that very same handwritten list. I suppose the paradox of that was just too complicated (or headache-inducing <g>) to deal with in a movie.

I came away feeling that they had softened many of the hard edges in the original story. Henry, in the book, is a more complex, moody, sometimes bitter and angry man, especially toward the end of the book, and they glossed over most of that in the movie. By skipping Clare's teenage years, they left out some of the scenes that gave added depth to her character. (But I suppose there wasn't time to show everything.)

I thought the special effects used when Henry "travels" were very good, quite consistent with the way it's described in the book. And I loved the fact that they cast a pair of sisters (Hailey McCann and Tatum McCann) to play Alba at different ages. Very clever idea, and it added a lot to the realism of those scenes.

If you haven't read the book, I would highly recommend it, especially for fans of Diana Gabaldon's books who like time-travel stories. And if you have read the book, go see the movie and post a comment here to let me know what you think of it.

Looking for more time-travel stories to pass the time until AN ECHO IN THE BONE comes out? Here are a few of my favorites.

8 comments:

Laura's Reviews said...

Your review is great! I read the book when it first came out, but hope to reread it before I see the movie. My book club is going to the theatre next month to see it . . .I hope they keep it in the theatre that long!

Lori said...

I read the book a couple of weeks ago and it was amazingly good. Definitely one of my favorites of all time. I'm waiting on a friend to finish the book and then we are going to see the movie. I'm so happy that I have been hearing good reviews from people that loved the book. I was a little worried that it would be terrible! Thanks for the review!

Susan Sanders said...

I agree with the review. I was afraid of a poor job on this wonderful book, but was at the theater bright and early Friday anyway.
I think they pared the story down to make it fit, and also to explain to viewers not familiar with the book what was going on. We lost some of the important little bits that make you really care about these people. They also did not include one of my favorite scenes, where Clare has decided she is old enough to consummate her love for Henry, and is waiting for him at his next "visit".
They showed the agony of the miscarriages well, but I felt the scene where she makes love with a traveling Henry and is thus able to conceive was rushed feeling, explaining a pregnancy rather than the special moment it was in the book.

They did end the movie with a high impact scene, and left me crying, but I liked this movie, I did not love it.

Karen Henry said...

Susan - I agree with everything you've said. I didn't cry at the end, but it was definitely affecting. I too wish they'd shown the scene where Clare and Henry make love when she is 18, and his reaction on returning to the present afterward. ("Why didn't you tell me?") It's one of my favorites in the book.

I didn't like the way they explained how Alba can "steer". Singing?! What on earth does the ability to sing have to do with controlling time-travel? That's just ridiculous, in my opinion. Or a convenient plot device to explain why Henry can't do it, since we know he can't carry a tune.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I love the book and plan go see the movie this week.

Jenn

Jane said...

I LOVE the book like crazy and was disappointed in the movie. I hated that Kimmy was totally left out (she was such a big part of Henry's life) and that we didn't get to see Clare's 18th birthday at all. I re-read the book yesterday and cried like a baby again. Didn't cry in the movie at all. On the other hand my husband and daughter (she's 21) didn't read the book and both LOVED the movie. My daughter actually got mad at me for not loving it, said if they put everything in the book in the movie it would be 6 hours longer, and nobody would sit through it. My husband came home from work when I was reading and crying yesterday and said I really needed to get back to work..just a couple of weeks till school starts again..sigh.

Linda said...

I saw the movie this weekend with my husband(wrong choice!) and quite liked it. I tried to read the book, but put it down after a few chapters, perhaps I'll pick it up again someday. I agree, even though I didn't read the book and based on Karen's review, it would of been a better ending to show Henry coming to see Clare as an elderly woman, just knowing he always tries to get back to her would of been perfect. Women in back of us were crying and when we were leaving, I saw a girl just sobbing into her male partner's arms! Wow!

ibeeeg said...

Thanks for this post!
I too, loved this book! Loved it! I am hesitant to view the movie but most likely will do so... eventually.

I have awarded you a BINGO Beautiful Blog Award for an informative blog! I really love all of your Outlander posts! Thanks.

Take a look at the following post for further details as to how you too can award this award to others!
http://ibeeeg.blogspot.com/2009/08/bingo-beautiful-blog-award.html