Monday, August 17, 2009

You Can't Hurry Love

When I first heard that The Time Traveler’s Wife was undergoing movie production, I cringed. I told my husband there was no way this sublime story, whose richness rests in quality prose could successfully translate to the screen. Additionally, I feared comparisons to Somewhere in Time (though I have a soft spot for that film), and the criticism of those who would misunderstand the relationship and cry wolf. I declared a refusal to see the movie, as I was unwilling to let a celluloid version sully the pure reading experience.

Two years later, I bought my ticket and saw the movie on opening weekend.

I’ve selected quotations from a few reviews that echo my reaction.

“The truth is, The Time Traveler's Wife, in its clumsy way, does something significant. It takes, as its subjects, the sadness and grandeur of life and the mystery of time, and it offers a full experience to those who find its wavelength. The Time Traveler's Wife makes us aware of the ephemerality and preciousness of all things.” -- MICK LaSALLE, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Some fans of the book might enjoy seeing these two soul mates brought to life on the big screen, but for everyone else the interpretation seems forced and at times inconsistent. --Ben Lyons, At the Movies

Some books translate well to the screen. Others don't. --Susan Granger
SSG Syndicate

At times I was entertained, and even moved by it. It's just damn frustrating, as this could have been a MUCH better film --Chris Bumbray
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Now for some original thoughts…

Having read the book for a third time (and I never re-read books!) just prior to going to the theater, I feel I was able to ingest and protect the book somehow, so that the printed version will leave the lasting impression.
All in all, there’s no harm in seeing the movie, but don’t expect the experience to match what the book has to offer. By necessity, several characters have been left out: Ingrid, Ben, Kimy, and Henry's colleagues, for instance. The screenplay also streamlines and alters many events. The manner in which Henry persuades Dr. Kendrick to treat him is completely changed, but advances the plot more quickly. Sacrifices like this that remove the passion and lifeblood from the story. Part of the book’s pleasure depends on the langorous unfolding. Sadly, cinematic versions must rush.

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