The Time Traveler’s Wife

After reading and loving the book, The Time Traveler’s Wife, I couldn’t wait to see the movie.  But would the cinematic version of a fantastic novel convert well to the big screen?


Many people like me, loved the novel.  Others were confused by the constant switching between characters and places in time.  Admittedly, I was one of those people at first, but as I read further into the novel, I became less confused.  The author, Audrey Niffenegger, intends to confuse readers since Henry lives in a state of confusion for so long.  As he matures and understands his gift/curse/purpose/destiny, he comes to terms with his condition and therefore, less confused by it all.  The novel reflects this progression.


The film version, on the hand, is much simpler and less confusing, but by being less complicated, it loses the complexity of the characters and the plot. The film shares Henry and Claire’s love story and struggles with his genetic anomaly of time traveling, but barely touches the surface of the much deeper themes in the novel.


Obviously, the love story theme translates well to the big screen, but so much of that love story has been omitted during the process.  The film clings to the love story and some of the tearful moments in the novel, but it’s far more than a boy meets girl love story or in this case, old Henry meets young Claire and they fall in love.  There’s pubescent love.  There’s betrayal and hurt.  There’s jealousy and pain. There’s loss time and time again as well as time lost.  The film only touches the surface of these plot elements.


If the movie is your first experience with The Time Traveler’s Wife, then you may love it.  I found myself crying at all the scenes I expected I would after reading the novel.  I enjoyed seeing Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana bringing the characters to life.  Despite shedding some tears, I still longed for more, which can only be found within the pages of the novel.


After finishing the novel, I mourned for days and I went into the film expecting that same impact.  However, once leaving the theater, my emotions were left behind like an empty tub of popcorn.  I simply did not connect with the characters as deeply as I did with the novel.  Perhaps it was the time invested in the novel which facilitated that connection, but there have been plenty of films that I connected emotionally with the characters and that emotion impacts me for days.  This was not the case with The Time Traveler’s Wife although I had high hopes that it would.  The only emotion present days after viewing the film is disappointment.


My advice: Read the novel and wait for the film to be released on DVD. 

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About Run DMT

I am a glamorous Domestic Diva raising three beautiful and brilliant children (ages 10, 7, 2). I have been married to my DH for 11 years. Before my blissful life as a SAHM, I taught elementary school for 7 years. I also organize a mommy group on, where I have met the most outstanding women and some of my best friends. Four years ago, I discovered a passion for running. I am currently training for my third marathon as well as a variety of other races and triathlons. I aspire to become a published children's author someday.

8 thoughts on “The Time Traveler’s Wife

  1. It is not the first time that I read that a movie production based on a novel comes short. I guess our imagination and lots of details enhance the story in so many ways. Thanks for sharing your opinion on this one.

  2. You know I agree. Mike wondered why he was always leaving his clothes. He didn’t read the book so didn’t know nothing artificial could go with him (including fillings). Lots was lost from the book.

  3. Thanks for the review. I admit I’ve been disappointed by books-turned-into-films so many times that I was expecting the worst. Glad not everything was a downer.

  4. This was also one of my favorite books, but luckily I read it over a year ago- so I was able to enjoy the movie more than if I had read it recently. I was very glad that certain scenes from the book were not brought into the movie (Gomez & Claire).

    The actress who plays 5 yr old Alba looks EXACTLY like I looked at that age. I’ll have to find a picture to show you!

  5. I saw the movie, but haven’t read the book. But now I really want to read it! The movie was good, but it left me feeling like things were definitely missing. And when I’ve read synopses about the book I was even more certain that it would feel more complete to me if I read the book. And now, you’ve given me the final confirmation that I need to read it! 🙂

  6. If you loved the book and liked the movie, I HIGHLY recommend watching the canceled TV serious called “Journeyman”.

    I’m sure you can get it on DVD, and it is a single series I think it was on NBC and was fantastic. The actors were great, story was great. It’s basically a season of “time travelers wife” only better.

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