The Time Traveler's Wife

I read The Time Traveler’s Wife years ago, and like all books I loved, I’ve had mixed emotions about seeing it translated to film.  TTTW is told from the first-person perspective from the two lead characters, the titular Clare and the reluctant time traveler Henry.  As with his mutant ability, the episodes are not necessarily told in order, creating foreshadowing and tension.  The book is a story of lifelong romance despite the odds where one partner cannot be counted upon to be there.

Like any translation, the film had to leave out some fleshier subplots in order to streamline the story.  Overall, I found the story to be successful, if a slight lament because the ending was changed.  The final pages of the book were rather sad, but not depressing.  The film changes the end (is it really the end , or they just left off that episode?) to something a little lighter, more wistful, but still very effective.  You really don’t know if Clare and Henry are going to get to embrace, and the payoff works.

It's not really worthwhile to talk about the differences, which could be ticked off in a spreadsheet, but I have a few observations.  One of my favorite scenes in the book is the first one, where Clare has waited her entire young life to meet Henry for the first time in true continuity (he has been coming back in time from the future to visit her for years).  Clare in novel is nearly busting with romantic love, barely able to control her emotions in formally starting her relationship with her future husband -- her future husband who in the timeline hasn't even met her yet.  It's just the right amount of angst, tension, confusion, comedy, and heart.  I was disappointed in the translation to film -- it's a crucial scene to nail and it comes off a little off -- more like a detective mystery as to why she's behaving this way rather than a gushing young woman's first real touch of her true love.  In writing this, I think perhaps the film in parts feels just a little off in the same way.  It's a good effort, but the book will remain the better story.  (Note, WTF on not being available on Kindle!)

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