Time Traveler’s Wife, The (2009)

Rated: PG-13 for thematic elements, brief disturbing images, nudity and sexuality.
Length: 107 minutes
Grade: ACAA=A
Budget: $39 million
Box Office: $115 million (63 U.S., 37 Intl., 15 DVD)

Written by: Bruce Joel Rubin (Last Mimzy, Stuart Little 2, Deep Impact, My Life, Jacob’s Ladder, Ghost, and Brainstorm) and Audrey Niffenegger (First film)
Directed by: Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, Tattoo)
Starring: Eric Bana, Rachel Mcadams
With: Stephen Tobolowsky

A man has the ability to travel through time, but he cannot control either his departure or destination in time, and this movie shows his life as it intertwines with the woman he marries.
Entertainment Value: A I was fascinated and captivated from the very beginning. The plot and the writing are wonderful. The acting is perfect. And once I realized what this movie wasn’t trying to do (be a mystery, teach a lesson, change the world), I could relax and enjoy it for what is was: a simply beautiful story about a very strange person.

Superficial Content: C
Drugs/Alcohol B , Sex/Nudity C, Violence C, Language B
There’s one extended scene of a man being shot and dying with blood, and there is a scene involving childbirth. There are some sexual scenes, but involving a married (or eventually married) couple. A man is shown naked from behind (he loses his clothes when he travels through time) and implied to be naked in a few scenes for the same reason. Some petty crimes are committed when he needs to find clothes in his destinations. Language is mild PG. Some alcohol. PG-13 is just right.

Significant Content: A
Real love means falling in love with the whole person, past, present, and future. Life is a hunt.

Artistic/Thought Value: A
And I think it epitomizes at least one aspect of science-fiction, the idea of simply telling a story about some strange premise without doing anything to explain the oddity or even draw lessons from it. This is elegant in its simplicity and, quite frankly, in its restraint. It tries to be nothing more and nothing less than a really touching romantic story about a very strange man. Basically, it just asks the question, “If time travel were an involuntary effect like this, almost a curse rather than a blessing, what would it be like?” In a sense, then, it’s the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” wanted to be but wasn’t, simply because it couldn’t restrain itself from trying to be something else or more. By the way, Brad Pitt was one of the executive producers here.

Discussion Questions:
~If you had the ability to travel through time, what would you try to do with it?
~Would you want to have Henry’s ability? Do you consider his condition a blessing or a curse? In what ways would his life be differently better or differently worse? Which is worse: not being able to go back or going back without any power to change things?
~Do you think it would be possible to keep this condition a secret from most people? Do you think it would be possible to have friends who know this about you but don’t reveal it to others?
~Would it be fair of such a person to get married?
~What do you think of his decision regarding having children? What about hers?

Poignant or memorable scenes:
~The final scene of the film.
~The wedding ceremony and the meadow.
Overall Grade: A
Wonderful, sad, precious, and moving. A simple movie with elegant emotional poignancy. Everything Benjamin Button wanted to be but couldn’t restrain itself enough to be.

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