The Time Traveler's Wife
By John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service
At its core the enjoyable tale of a
lifelong committed relationship, "The Time Traveler's Wife" (Warner
Bros.) benefits from persuasive central performances by Eric Bana and Rachel
McAdams as a pair of chronologically challenged lovers, turns that successfully
divert attention from the story's logical loose ends.
Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana star in a scene from the movie "The Time Traveler's Wife."
But director Robert Schwentke's romantic
drama also features some behavior that would clearly be objectionable in a less
far-fetched context than that provided by its fantasy premise.
Bana plays Chicago rare books librarian Henry DeTamble.
Henry is afflicted with a unique genetic disorder that causes him to disappear
from the present and travel—involuntarily and randomly—through time. So when he
first encounters McAdams' character, artist Clare Abshire, she's a total
stranger to him, though—thanks to repeated visits his future self will pay to
her past, beginning when she was six—he's already her best friend and one true
The script, adapted from novelist Audrey
Niffenegger's 2003 best-seller by Bruce Joel Rubin—who penned 1990s similarly
supernatural "Ghost"—eventually implies that Clare also knows for
certain at this point that she and Henry will ultimately wed. If so, the
first-date bedroom encounter that she aggressively initiates must be considered
premarital relations of a unique kind.
Whenever Henry is transported, his
clothes stay behind and he appears in the new moment naked. This circumstance
not only entails a few scenes of rear nudity, but drives Henry to break into
buildings or cars and steal other people's clothing in order to cover himself.
A plot development dealing with
sterilization seems to imply that it may be wrong in the situation portrayed,
but not as a general matter.
In addition to his faithful love for
Clare, Henry cherishes the memory of his opera singer mother and has a
nurturing, though strained, connection with his father (Arliss Howard) whose
grief-motivated drinking endangers his career as a violinist.
Yet there is no suggestion that either of
them had Henry's condition, or knew of anyone perching on a higher branch of
the family tree who might have bequeathed it to him.
The idea of a 20- or 30-something Henry
befriending the childhood version of his future wife -- and kindling her love
for him -- will strike some as romantic, others perhaps as creepy. But the
dialogue explicitly makes the point that their first kiss comes when Clare is
The film contains brief nongraphic
premarital sexual activity, rear nudity, a sterilization theme, a few uses of
profanity, and some crude and crass language. The USCCB Office for Film &
Broadcasting classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of
America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be
inappropriate for children under 13.
- - -
Mulderig is on the staff of the Office
for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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