The Time Traveler’s Wife

Went to see this movie with some friends from our book club last night. We’d enjoyed reading the book, although it took a lot of concentration to understand the various versions of the protagonist as he jumps back and forth through time. A great deal of the dramatic effect of the novel was diminished by trying to understand what the character did or did not know at certain points in the narrative.

The movie is ok, and the actors who play the main characters are well chosen. But all of use book club folks agreed that if you haven’t read the book, it’s almost pointless to see the movie. The movie did a good job of retelling the most dramatic parts of the book, and it was a good refresher for those of us who had forgotten much of the plot. But for a new viewer, I don’t think the movie was really dramatic enough.

Here is my “theory” of the novel/story. The time traveler jumps back and forth in time, and the title of course refers to his “wife” who is left waiting. I travel a lot for my work and so I thought the plot paralleled the absent husband who travels away like I do, and comes back late on a Friday night while his wife has looked after the house and family for several days in a row. So it’s a fantastic story with a very realistic origin. On a deeper level it could be a science fiction manifestation of the general theme of loss and abandonment. E.g. the corporate climber husband who leaves his wife alone while he works late.

Of course, the husband in the movie and novel is not like that: he doesn’t want to leave and he’s more socialist than capitalist. But I think my underlying idea is solid because it accounts for the loss of the husband.

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