Review: The Time Traveler's Wife

Aug 14, 2009 at 3:01 p.m. ET

The Time Traveler's Wife is by far, the summer's best romance. With the acting prowess of Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana as Henry and Clare, The Time Traveler's Wife emotionally effectively brings the Audrey Niffenegger novel an inspired form on the big screen.

Director Robert Schwentke is masterful in working from Bruce Joel Rubin's screenplay that perfectly captures the moments of Niffenegger's world fans will want to see on screen and leaves out quite a few that we could live without having a visual image. The Time Traveler's Wife book fans: there are no scenes of Eric Bana repeatedly throwing up every time he time travels.

Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams chemistry is hot in TTW

There are several things to consider when bringing a beloved book to the big screen. First, capturing the essence of the literary work is critical. On this front The Time Traveler's Wife receives high marks. Rubin and Schwentke weave a tale that is simultaneously a sweeping romantic epic, suspense thriller, science fiction fable and romantic comedy. Yes, I said it. There are uniquely funny moments that are born from Niffenegger's story making it into Schwentke's film. The Time Traveler, as it should, takes itself seriously, but keenly comprehends an audience requires moments of levity.

Timeless romance

Second, the emotion audiences feel from The Time Traveler's Wife is true as love itself. As screenwriter Rubin said in our interview, any romance worth its salt must be grounded in a solid arc -- as such The Time Traveler's Wife scores.

Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana burn bright in The Time Traveler's Wife

The love story of Clare and Henry is complicated to say the least. Henry was born with a genetic defect that causes him to inexplicably disappear into time. He has no control over when these occurrences happen, only limited ideas of how to influence them.

As embodied by Bana, Henry appears to manage his condition quite well. That is until Clare asks for some help at the library where he works. As soon as he approaches her, McAdams' Clare is the picture of a woman convinced romantic destiny has finally revealed itself.

Suspense and thrills

The third and final element of a successful leap from page to screen is how the moments captured in prose that compel a reader to turn pages manage to find its way into the screenplay, actor's performances, direction, editing, music and the most important spoke in the wheel – reader's vision culled from the book reading experience.

Dining solo: often a problem in The Time Traveler's Wife

Rubin is the Oscar-winning screenwriter who created Ghost. His supernatural-to-romance barometer on the Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze cinematic swoon was impeccable. Rubin's screenplay from Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, he reports, came to the screenwriter effortlessly. It shows. The story moves with a pace that is perfect for the summer movie season while staying true to the priceless capturing of a literary romance whose source couple truly knows no bounds of amour.

After witnessing The Time Traveler's Wife in New York City at the end of July, this reviewer will be returning with his own bride to the local Cineplex when the film opens nationwide August 14.

Read on for more

Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams talk about The Time Traveler's Wife
Bringing The Time Traveler's Wife to screen: our interview with screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin
Rachel McAdams and Robert Downey Jr dish Sherlock Holmes