I watched The Time Traveler’s Wife recently. The book was better. I understand that translating 500 pages to the screen can be quite an undertaking, and that some things needed to be eliminated entirely (Gomez’s thing for Clare, for one, thank GOD) but I see no reason why this film exists. It is bland, boring and bad.
1. There is little to no chemistry between the two leads. I’m supposed to believe that there is a magnetism between them, a pull. Henry shows up naked in the field behind her childhood home when she was six (ew) and so on until she’s in her late teens. They are MFEO, obvs. So why is it that when he meets Clare for the first time (for him, of course) I just got this sense of…meh? She’s sorta excited to see him and she asks him on a date and Henry ‘s facial expression reads, “I’m pretty sure you’ll put out so okay.” And then after they sleep together he’s like “You’re my soulmate because I need a good reason to break up with my current girlfriend who is a total psycho.”
By the way, Rachel McAdams needs to STEP IT UP. I usually love her (Married Life was great, and The Notebook sucked but she did a wonderful job, The Family Stone was pretentious but she did a wonderful job, Mean Girls had Lindsay Lohan in it but she did a wonderful job) but the last couple of films that I’ve seen her in she’s completely phoned in her performance. As far as Eric Bana goes…I have no idea what he brought to this particular part except a bored expression. Maybe he was focusing too much on his American accent? Who knows.
2. Why even have Gomez and Charisse in the film? I guess to prove that Clare and Henry aren’t completely narcissistic assholes, but they’ve got like a handful of lines. Ron Livingston deserves better!
3. I get that a movie about time travel is going to skip around a lot. I’m fine with that. But the passage of time is too swift. 5 years go by in a flash. I need some kind of foundation to build on, I need a reason to care about these people, I don’t need to eagerly countdown to Henry’s death just to get some sense of oomph. I guess what bothered me the most was that it tried too hard to make things okay when things should’ve been dire.
Thinking about how books usually surpass their movie versions made me think of P.S.(minus I love you), one of the few films that I know of that surpasses the book. I did see the film first, but I don’t think that matters. I think I’d feel the same way if it had been reversed. The story is about a middle-aged woman who meets a guy half her age who is a helluva lot like her high school boyfriend (who of course broke her heart before dying young). Same name, same face, same passion (art). But here’s the main thing: F. Scott (Francis Scott, but let’s call him Fake Scott) is a total douche in the book. The author dresses him up like a “gangbanger” complete with a shaved head and sagging pants, but he’s this total overly dramatic ape who says things like “I don’t want to be a victim of love.” and cries silently. Gross.
The movie kept the good parts (You’re gonna fuck it up Louise!”) and tossed the pretentious bullshit (“I don’t want to be a victim of love”) and for that I thank it. I loved Louise’s interaction with Fake Scott, it just felt true to life. He seems totally into her, but appropriately jarred by a new relationship (with an older woman, no less) and thus, acts kind of like a jerk sometimes. The scene where he and Louise are at the restaurant and he’s watching her eat, and they meet his friend and Fake Scott whispers in his friend’s ear and they laugh and you know Louise is like, WTF ARE YOU WHISPERING? I’ll take two please. In the book, I just couldn’t take him seriously. I couldn’t take Louise seriously. The characters seemed to talk in this odd, otherworldly way which I guess makes sense given the subject matter but I’m good. I’m good. I’ll just watch the movie repeatedly, thanks!