Time fades everything: from material possessions to memories, nothing lasts. This we do know. The Time Traveler’s Wife explores these ideas in tragic and bittersweet ways.

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) Film Review

For Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana), time has become more of a reality than luxury. Ever since a tragic car accident that took the life of his mother when he was a child, Henry “vanishes” into the past. During these experiences, he forms a special bond with the small, precocious girl who grows up to become his wife. Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams) has been in love with Henry ever since he “appeared” in her favorite meadow near her home. When they finally meet as adults in college, she jumps at the chance to know and understand more than just a little girl’s fantasy.

‘THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE’ IS A SAD ROMANCE ADAPTATION. A review of the 2009 adaptation with Rachel McAdams. Text © Rissi JC

After dating briefly, the inseparable lovers marry, much to the dismay of Clare’s friend (Ron Livingston). Even as newlyweds Clare finds she’s alone often, including their first Christmas. During their tempestuous marriage, Henry and Clare somehow find a middle ground, both learning to cope with the frequent separations. And yet, what they don’t realize is how brief their life together will be…

‘THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE’ IS A SAD ROMANCE ADAPTATION. Rachel McAdams co-stars in this 2009 #adaptation! #Movies #Romance #MovieArchives Click To Tweet
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Seeing this was a long time coming. The result of the movie both surprises and disappoints me. Going into this, I didn’t have the spoiler, but did understand the end wasn’t to be happy. To the credit of the writers, they tell us exactly what’s to happen, which perhaps makes it a bit easier to accept, but at the same time more difficult in the expectation of tragedy. Based on a best-selling novel, what strikes us about this is the realization that there is no purpose to Henry’s travels. A friend astutely pointed out that perhaps that’s the point. To illustrate that sometimes we must cope with difficult things that there is no earthly control over.

This isn’t a movie for a younger audience, just because, it’s quite the contemplative, emotional mess. This script is a mature love story and look at life that sometimes weighs down the plot (it’s more gloom than joy). To be honest, it’s been difficult to decide just what I thought of this. Without a doubt I do think I want a re-watch, hopefully with an end result getting my thoughts in order. It’s just just an unusual story. If there is one thing The Time Traveler’s Wife perfects, it’s being unique.

Here and there, there’s a moment that is really sweet, and in general, the acting is good. (McAdams is a fabulous actress.) But overall the film is more lackluster than anything, which is perhaps why it’s so surprising that the end manages to amp up the climax. Furthermore the cinematography in this setting is gorgeous, and even if it’s not viewers’ ideal, the close does coax a smile. This is more in a realization that the characters are going to be “okay.” Regardless of the reaction, this does leave you with quite a lot to think about. It will make you cry, and root for certain things, but rarely does it bring a smile.

When you know what to expect, The Time Traveler’s Wife is interesting. Even if for no other reason than its ability to make us think about how fleeting time is, and how frequently we choose not to cherish the beautiful in life.

Content: there’s several instances of partial nudity. Henry appears at his destinations nude. Likewise, Clare is seen leaving bed [a full, but brief shot of her back is glimpsed]. On their first date, Clare and Henry spend the night together [she begins to undress as they fall onto the couch. Clare becomes pregnant when meeting Henry from the past. Beforehand, the couple suffers numerous miscarriages, suggesting the baby time traveled. Profanity is sprinkled throughout. There is a short-lived fistfight; a man is fatally shot, with some blood [impact unseen]. The film is PG-13.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. This gives me a much fuller picture of a movie whose premise I didn't quite understand in the first place. Thank you for that!

    Thanks for your recent comments on my blog! I hope you don't mind if I smiled at the one you left for Annie J., presumably thinking it was me. Honestly, I'm surprised she and I don't get confused more often. :]

  2. Cubette – you are welcome. I hope you enjoy this if you decide to see it. =)

    Annie – oh! I am glad; thanks! I saw this movie a while back, wrote up the review and "polished" it to post. If I'd watch it again today, my opinion might change but I did quite like the film – it was unique if nothing else.

    Ha! That whole-mistaken-comment-thing made me laugh (and it was a bit embarrassing when I realized my error *grin*).

    As always, I am glad you visited, Annie. =)

  3. Given that it's six-something in the morning and dreary outside with the snow and I haven't been awake all that long, I hope you will smile when I say that instead of "Time Traveler's Wife" when glancing at my blog fed, I saw "Time LORD's Wife" and my first thought was, "… wait, Rissi's not a Doctor Who fan. OH!" LOL

    I don't remember much about this movie other than that it was sad.

  4. Charity – that did make me smile! =) I've not seen a single episode of "Doctor Who," but sometimes I think it'd be interesting.

    This movie was sad, but yet, for some reason I did like it – which is weird for me.

    I wondered if you guys were getting any snow yet – and you are! Oh! The joys of winter. =)

  5. You ought to see at least one episode someday. Possibly "The Doctor's Wife."

    *spends some time giggling*

    Seriously, though, if you could sit through the Green Lantern and enjoy it, you could survive Doctor Who. ;)

  6. Charity – hmmm… I'll have to remember that about "Doctor Who."

    Hey, are you makin' fun of "Green Lantern"!? LOL! Actually, I cannot blame you; the movie was sillier than all get outs, but I like Ryan – had he not starred, I might not have cared. ;D

    Rebekah – much thanks!! I appreciate you including me in the list of bloggers to receive this award. =)

  7. Oh, I know how that goes, Juju! Normally I prefer reading the novel first before seeing a film because it's easier for me to get through the book prior to the film adaptation.

    The movie is a little… "different" but I actually did enjoy it. And, that is rare for me because I prefer happy-ever-afters.

    I've not read the book, but I should sometime… and I need to re-watch the film again, too. I saw it once a couple of years ago. I don't know how different the book vs. the film is as a result…

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