Time-trav­el­ing ro­mance skips past logic, sub­stance

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Reviews - By Christy Lemire

As­so­ci­ated Press So let’s try to get this straight, here. In “The Time Trav­eler’s Wife,” Eric Bana plays a guy named Henry who jumps around the past, present and fu­ture, only he can’t con­trol where or when he goes. Sup­pos­edly, he also can’t con­trol how he gets back where he came from, ex­cept for when he tries cer­tain tricks to place him­self in a state of mind to time travel. Even then there’s no way to guar­an­tee which ver­sion of Henry will show up: the same one who left or a younger or older ver­sion of him­self.

Still, he man­ages to hold down a job at a Chicago li­brary and main­tain an apart­ment, makeshift as it is. The only con­stant seems to be that when he shows up at his des­ti­na­tion, he’s al­ways naked. (Some­how, Henry has found time be­tween all his trav­els to hit the gym.)

Hunky as he is, he’d be a frus­trat­ing guy to fall in love with, or even date. Women like sta­bil­ity, you know. But Rachel McA­dams’ char­ac­ter, Clare, must be made of stronger stuff than the rest of us, be­cause not only does she tol­er­ate Henry’s pesky in­con­sis­tency, she be­lieves he’s her des­tiny, and that he has been since the first time she saw him as a pre­co­cious 6-year-old girl (played by Brook­lynn Proulx). The core of “The Time Trav­eler’s Wife” is their strug­gle to stay to­gether.

Di­rec­tor Robert Sch­wen­tke’s film, based on the Au­drey Nif­f­eneg­ger best-seller, breezes through their re­la­tion­ship, in­clud­ing the fact that Clare and Henry’s meet-cute is more like a meet-creepy. He shows up wear­ing no clothes in the meadow be­hind her par­ents’ house, asks to bor­row her pic­nic blan­ket and just starts talk­ing to her. This doesn’t freak her out at all — where is the stranger-dan­ger les­son, peo­ple? — pre­sum­ably be­cause she knows, even at this ten­der age, that she is cos­mi­cally meant to be with him.

Maybe it’s more plau­si­ble on the writ­ten page — or maybe you just have to be a hope­less ro­man­tic, and will­ing to shut off the part of your brain that craves logic, to en­joy this.

Warner Bros. Pic­tures

De­spite the time-trip­ping in­con­sis­tency of Henry (Eric Bana), Clare (Rachel McA­dams) be­lieves the hunky li­brar­ian is hers for al­ways.

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