Elevate Difference

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Shortly after I started reading The Time Traveler's Wife, I found out that there was a movie coming out, and was interested in seeing how the two would compare. Book-to-movie adaptations are generally thought to be letdowns, but I wanted to see exactly how a love story about a time traveler—from a book more than 500 pages long that shifts through time and narration—would look on film. I was curious as to how Henry and Clare’s interwoven story would translate to the big screen, and if the problems I had with the book would be present in the film.

So how did the movie do? The short answer is, it did well. Now on to the long answer…

The style of the storytelling changed for the big screen. There was no narration and not a lot of time traveling actually. The story was mostly told as it happened in the present. They removed a lot of minor characters and got rid of extra storylines. This made it much easier to keep up with the primary story of Henry and Clare's love.

Getting rid of the excess, however, took away a lot of what I liked about the book. For one, some of the minor characters were also my favorites. There are references in the film to things that are important in the book, but are given no explanation in the movie, such as Henry’s need to run. What suffered most were scenes of Henry’s interaction with Clare as she’s growing up. I was disappointed that so much was left out because without that background, you have no idea why Clare loves Henry so much once they meet in the present. There are several pivotal moments that Clare and Henry share when she’s a child and a teenager that bond them together, and those are not mentioned.

Thankfully, some of the problems I had with the book were not present in the movie. The story did not lag at the end, and I didn’t get the same sense of devastation and defeat from Clare that I did in the book.

It’s hard to say what I might have taken away from the movie without first reading the book. I think the core of the story is still there—an unbreakable bond between two people who love each other. And it was a treat to see their story move from inside my mind to the big screen.

Written by: frau sally benz, August 16th 2009

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