The Time Traveler's Wife

Release Date: August 14, 2009

Movie of the Day for Friday, August 29, 2008
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Bana tries to work up the courage to tell her he was in The Hulk.

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Position Staff In Brief
9/21 Jason Lee Elevated by two great performances by Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana.

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Fans of Audrey Niffenegger's critically acclaimed novel The Time Traveler's Wife have been clamoring since its release in 2003. Though the story might appear on the surface to be a chick-lit romance, it really goes much deeper, with elements of science fiction. It looks at ethical issues even as it acts as a bit of thriller. With such a deep book - that tend to be quite dark in its final section - it seemed a difficult proposition to take it and translate for the big screen.

New Line Cinema chose to go with director Robert Schwentke to handle the adaptation, which was written by Jeremy Leven and Bruce Joel Rubin. Fans who have been excited for the book's transformation to movie format might want to temper their enthusiasm somewhat, as the track record for these individuals has been up and down at best. Schwentke is effectively unproven, known best for helming the Jodie Foster starrer Flightplan. Though that film had decent box office - taking in almost $90 million after a $24.6 million opening weekend, it was not well-received critically (it's only 38% Fresh at RottenTomatoes). Leven is responsible for such screenplays as Don Juan DeMarco, Alex & Emma, The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Notebook, which is the only well-regarded one of the bunch. Rubin won an Oscar for his screenplay for Ghost, but his more recent work has been middling, from My Life to Stuart Little 2 (a movie I liked but audiences rejected) and The Last Mimzy.

Considering the complex elements of The Time Traveler's Wife, it feels like a book that perhaps should have been tackled by some heavyweights (Peter Jackson and The Lovely Bones comes to mind as an apt comparison). The fact that New Line has delayed the film's release several times also gives legitimate cause for concern.

With all that said, The Time Traveler's Wife does boast the terrific Rachel McAdams in the lead role, so all hope is not lost. Eric Bana hasn't proven himself to be up to the task of taking on this type of serious role (at least not when he has to use an American accent) in the past, but it's always possible for things to change. After all, the trailer for the film is actually pretty solid, though it might give off the impression that the movie is more of a chick flick than what the book truly was.

Whether The Time Traveler's Wife ends up standing up as a great literary movie adaptation or not, it does look like a movie that should have real appeal for women, which can work out quite well when the market is under-served. Good marketing can propel it to a leggy performance…whether it satisfies diehard fans of the book is another question. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Time Traveler's Wife
Main Cast Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, Ron Livingston
Supporting Cast Jane McLean
Director Robert Schwentke
Screenwriter Jeremy Leven, Bruce Joel Rubin
Distributor New Line Cinema
Screen Count 2,988
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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