Monday, 17 August 2009

The Time Traveler’s Wife

This is unquestionably the best Relativity-based weepie you will see this summer. Wacky time travel will take some of us oldies back to the future as a comedic device, but it has not hiterto been a staple device of the big love story. The Time Traveler’s Wife, which does elegantly exactly what it says on the tin, is, in fact, the only relativity based weepie you will see this summer.

Note to self and thanks to commenters — Benjamin Button involved grown up malarkey with time running backwards, and there is a Dorian Gray on the stocks (though the trailer makes it look rather schlocky). Time Traveler is more random but also rather more emotionally engaging and satisfying than Benjamin Button was. If I had to take one to a desert island, it would be Time Traveler.

Time Travel, notoriously, discombobulates the making of plots. Writers need a good, stout card index to keep everything together, so be warned: to get the best out of this film you do have to suspend disbelief occasionally:
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Here’s the deal. Most peoples’ lives run like tape, in one inexorable sequence of events from A to Z. Imagine, however, a strange genetic disorder that made your life occasionally run non-sequentially like a CD skipping between tracks. You’d be in and out of scenes and all over the place. This sounds fun, especially if you are a lottery player, but remember everybody else is still on the old tape sequential thing and you can’t change the future. Remember also that you can’t take anything with you, so be prepared for some chilly zipping around Chicago filching clothes on cold winter nights. Now try and build a regular loving relationship with someone like that, et voilà! Beware also Republican parents in law, remembering what the NRA didn’t want you to know — guns do, in fact, kill people...

Confused? You could be. But not impossibly. Anna, at almost 11, was perfectly able to work out what was going on without having read the novel. If you’re still with me, go see this film. It carries off an improbably high concept magnificently and should win over all but hardened cynics. The leads play it straight, with excellent chemistry and total commitment. There is an unsentimental edge to the way they handle the weepie aspects of the deal, along with a surprising amount of that rare quality the French call tendresse.

Women wishing to validate their feelie credentials should go watch this film, as should men emotionally developed enough not to have preferred G I Joe, or indeed The Ugly Truth, the ghastly trogoladytic sex-romp showing simultaneously in your local multiplex. The time will fly, indeed you will be surprised at how elegantly and winningly a long novel has been fitted into only one hour forty. This was probably the result of rare genetic mutation. Four out of five stars.

6 comments:

Rachel Marszalek said...

Thanks Alan, I read the book which I loved and I see the film tomorrow - now I really can't wait...great review.
Rachel

Steve Hayes said...

Thanks for the recommendation -- I enjoyed reading the book, so will try to see the film, though I believe Benjamin Button had a similar McGuffin.

And one of the things I kept thinking when reading it was how the author kept track of who had experienced what. Not a card index, surely, but a multi-dimensional supercard index?

acetate monkey said...

I'd been (perhaps unwisely) recommending it to all and sundry based on my experience of the novel. I'm not a man who wears his heart on his sleeve so now I feel relieved that one of the times I did has paid off. Phew!

paul said...

I loved the book and it generated huge amounts of discussion in our book group. Can't wait to see the film.

NB Particularly good on New York Punk, for those of us of a particular vintage!!!...

Abagale said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Margaret

http://lotterymegamillions.net

Atul said...

Hi, its a nice movie, i had watch the time traveler's wife movie

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