The Time Traveler’s Wife Review: Is There A Happy Ending To It?

The Time Traveler’s Wife Review: Steven Moffat’s adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s novel stars Rose Leslie and Theo James as a couple whose romance is threatened by his uncontrollable time travel.

The Time Traveler’s Wife begins with a huge ask that may have some viewers saying no, but will be recognizable to followers of the Audrey Niffenegger book or 2003 picture.

Large sections of the series, notably the first few episodes, concentrate around a tiny girl and an older guy who appears naked in the woods behind her house 152 times over 14 years.

The story’s logic allows it. Henry (Theo James) is a reluctant time traveler who can’t control when, where, or how long he travels.

Clare (Everleigh McDonnell as a young child; Caitlin Shorey as a slightly older child, and Rose Leslie from high school onward) grows up to be his wife; making these chats — from his perspective; at least — a heightened version of the idle conversations we’ve all had with loved ones we’ve met later in life; about what they must have been like as kids.

Even with that backdrop, it’s not easy to see 20-year-old Clare explain to 28-year-old Henry that her entire libido has been shaped around him and “everything you’ve conditioned me to want.”

Clare’s 6-year-old “grooming” joke doesn’t make the awkwardness go away.

It’s a rocky start for a star-crossed relationship we’re supposed to root for, and while things improve, hollow characters, and ambiguous tone, and a lack of chemistry preclude The Time Traveler’s Wife from being swoon-worthy.

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Doctor Who’s Steven Moffat frames the narrative with interview footage of an elderly Henry and Clare musing on the trials of being a time traveler.

Review of the Time Traveler’s Wife: Much Too Much Ick Factor to Be Fantastic

In the words of Alan Bennett, a classic is a Film that everyone assumes to have Seen and often assumes to have read.

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The formula for a modern bestseller simply needs to be tweaked slightly; a book everyone feels they’ve read, even if they’ve gone out of their way to avoid it.

There’s so much information in these books that even if you have not read them, you’ll retain so much information through osmosis that it doesn’t matter if you have scanned the pages or not.

As a result, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger’s debut novel, has sold millions of copies since it was published in 2003, thanks to a 2009 film version.

His condition permits him to go back and forth between the past and the future at will, landing in a bewildered and naked state at any given point in space and time.

He gets better at finding his feet (and some clothing) each time. He finds his soulmate, Clare, on one of his many nonchronological adventures.

Many times they are torn apart, only to be reunited weeks, months, or even years later in a more or less romantic setting depending on the ages of both parties.

In a word, it’s hysterical. That being said, Steven Moffat’s latest six-part adaptation of the book (Sky Atlantic) does it proud.

Where he can, he adds a dash of wit to cut through the glitz and glamour.

A framing device is still present, however. Clare (Rose Leslie) and/or Henry (Theo James, acquitting himself well after many years paying dues in the Divergent films) talk wistfully about their lives at the beginning of each episode. Rose Leslie channels the spark of Game of Thrones’ Ygritte rather than the drippiness of The Good Fight’s Maia.

“The future is something that turns up when you’re looking for something else,” and “For everyone else, the past is over. In my case, I’m still attempting to make it through.”

Audrey Niffenegger’s debut novel, and film The Time Traveler’s Wife, was published in 2003 and was her first book.

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It’s a love story about Henry, a man with a genetic disease that forces him to move across time in unpredictable ways, and Clare, his wife, an artist who must deal with his frequent absences.

Related:

Is There A Happy Ending To The Time Traveler’s Wife?

Alba, Henry, and Clare are reunited in the concluding scene of “The Time Traveler’s Wife”

Several years after Henry died, Alba is playing in a field at the family’s home, and a previous Henry appears in the background.

Just as Henry begins to dwindle, Clare leaps into Henry’s arms, calling for her mother to join her in the embrace.

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