WNow what about predestination and free will? Is the story of our lives written, or do we at least have the power of co-authoring every work present? And if so, couldn’t a visitor from the future prevent future disasters, solve crimes, or warn us of what was to come?
None of this is possible for the homeless Henry against his will. Except for the lottery trick, he is unable to take advantage of his own ability, or rather his handicap, as he calls it. Henry, as its inventor wanted it nearly twenty years ago in her best-selling novel The Time Traveler’s Wife, is expelled from his present against his will over and over again only to find himself elsewhere in the past or future. Things get complicated when he meets the love of his life, which transforms a time-style story from step-by-step into a romance with an overwhelming factor: a perfect foundation for the film adaptation.
In 2009, director Robert Schwencke adapted the novel for film, starring Eric Bana as Henry and Rachel McAdams as his wife Claire. It was a year after The Curious Case of Benjamin Button had elevated cinematic shifts onto the timeline. The Time Traveler’s Wife was as cute as a movie, nothing more. Now Stephen Moffat is trying his luck, a man with experience in the field: as the producer of the British science fiction series “Doctor Who”, time-jumps are common for him, and his Arthur Conan Doyle-inspired series “Sherlock” The Art of Cinematography accelerates a more relaxed literary pace.
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” as a six-part series, created for US pay-TV and watchable on Sky, clearly has comedy, action and presentation effects – without questioning the underlying premise, with its backlighting and warm colors, absence heightened by love as it evokes longing.
A librarian with a specific physique
The fact that Henry, who is literally embodied by Theo James, always appears nude on other time planes could be advertisement enough for any fitness program, the time traveler’s physique is highly defined and perfectly lit in arrival mode. Rolling over rails in front of an approaching train, stealing clothes and money, hitting attackers, running away from them or storming shelters are among the lifesaving skills of the talented librarian we showcase. The series doesn’t take it seriously, otherwise the action scenes in Adam’s costume would be just a splurge.
But what about the title heroine, whose story is supposed to be unrestricted? To really do this, Claire alone should have told him. Instead, Henry and his wife, played by Rose Leslie, offer home-video-style explanations—allowing one to quietly enjoy the make-up art that ages the characters, but remains cute and somewhat awkward in the midst of not really serving time.
The plot isn’t all confusing: Six-year-old Claire, who plays alone in a clearing near her parents’ house, meets Henry as a middle-aged man one day and becomes her paternal friend, who keeps coming and going for a short visit. He knows very well that in front of him is his future wife, but he also maintains a platonic distance from the almost adult teenager. Only when Claire turns twenty does he meet Henry as a young man in her present – but knows nothing of his future. Their love affair begins, although Henry initially proves to be a complete idiot who has yet to become the mature man Claire already knows. Father’s knot, you might say, and in fact Henry’s ending can also be interpreted in this direction.
Lovers shape each other retrospectively and futuristically. This relates to the wait, which is interrupted by a time somersault, the blood-stained flashback for the death of Henry’s mother and the drama about prenatal children who are time-traveling in our present. The series manages to sympathize with the contrast of a brilliant and on-and-off love story. She benefits from the successful interaction of the main actors. But the whole thing isn’t about falling in love with head over heels, nor is it because investment advice in face masks isn’t chasing after the real crazy unpredictability that plays no part in the chrono-chaotic couple’s lives. Adaptation cannot solve the paradoxes of time or clarify the question of predestination. This is why Time Traveler’s Wife is the perfect entertainment to escape from reality.
Time Traveler’s Wife Today starts at 8.15pm on Sky Atlantic and Sky Ticket.