thoughts on “The Time Traveler’s Wife”

About a month ago, I posted a link for a trailer for the upcoming movie The Time Traveler’s Wife. I really wanted to see it, and Friday, August 14, was opening night for the movie.  We were on vacation at the time, meaning we had free babysitters.  (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)  So, JJ easily agreed to go along with me, and for the first time in my life, I saw a movie on the night it opened.

I enjoyed the movie and thought that it was a good adaptation of the book.  As the title suggests, there is a lot of time traveling involved in the original novel, and I thought the screenplay managed those many difficult shifts well.  The actors did a fine job, and the movie achieved its ending in a more-or-less believable fashion.  All that said, it isn’t going to win any Oscars for any of those involved in making the movie.  But, I would deem it a solid 3-star movie, and I would recommend it for those who like a tear-jerker movie.

Those of you who know me in real life will not be surprised when I say that romantic dramas with tragic endings are my favorite kind of movie.  Those of you who know my husband will not be surprised when I say that those are JJ’s least favorite kind of movies.  (Yet, somehow we have managed to be married for nine years!  Ah, love truly does conquer all.)  After the movie, JJ asked me why I think the genre of the tragic romance is so appealing to me, and I wasn’t quite sure how to answer.  The best answer we could come up with is that because my life has been devoid of tragedy and true hardship, I enjoy vicariously experiencing it via a story.

That’s absolutely true; I DO love a good tragic love story.  My favorite movies and/or books include: The Thorn Birds, Gone with the Wind, Roman HolidayThe English Patient and Possession (to name a few).  None of those have happy endings, so Yes, I definitely enjoy the love story with a sad ending.  Not that I’m against happy endings (I could give you a long list of happily ending books and movies that I also enjoy), but I thrill to the painful feeling in my gut given me by heartbreak in a story.  (Yes, there’s a little bit of Anne of Green Gables in me, too.)  For some reason, the idea that two people meant to be together will not spend their lives together (even when it’s all entirely fictional) moves me deeply, and I thoroughly enjoy spending a few hours in the shoes of those fictional characters. (By the way, if any of you have recommendations for other romance movies with sad endings, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear them!)

JJ suggested that if my life had had more sad episodes and more sad love story endings, perhaps I wouldn’t be so intrigued by those kind of stories. I suspect that he’s right – I did have rather a Mary Poppins upbringing, with hefty doses of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” and The Sound of Music thrown in.  But, life is what it is.  It’s not that I haven’t experienced sadnesses and disappointments in my life; I have.  If and when true tragedy strikes my life (not that I’m wanting it to strike!), I suspect my taste in movies might change, too.

If you’d like a passionate review of the movie with more details, read this review, posted over at Velveteen Mind.

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I read the book The Time Traveler’s Wife about 2.5 years ago, when I was pregnant with Curious J.  I picked up the book at the library, purely because I was intrigued by the title and by the cover picture.  I read the book and could barely put it down.  In some ways it’s a harsh book, with plenty of four-letter words and more than one uncomfortable scene, but despite it’s unreal premise, the story is written in so real a way that one can’t help but be drawn in.  I don’t latch onto stories easily, but this story caught me and wouldn’t let me go.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the story for about a month; it made quite an impression on me.

I found this interesting quote from Audrey Niffenegger, the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, on Amazon.com:

[On wondering whether her work centers on the theme of loss:] My work is about time passing, and things that go away and you can’t get them back, and death.  And, of course, it’s also about birth and music and art and running around like a maniac without your clothes on.  But, it is true that I write about loss a great deal, and I think that I do that because it seems like the most profound thing that happens to us.  In addition to gaining things and falling in love and having children, everything that we do is potentially going to be lost.  And so I think it’s important to enjoy everything while it’s here and pay attention while it’s here, so that’s actually one of the main themes of the book.

I understand that constant feeling of a sense of impending loss.  It’s a blog post for another day, but suffice to say I often try to mentally prepare myself to lose the things I love most.  This blog is one example of that.  I know that life can change in a moment, and if you don’t enjoy and make use of the moments you’re given now, you may never have another chance.

Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to the tragic story.  I trust that God knows what is best for me and my family, and I’m not expecting to leave anytime soon.  But I know that the future is always uncertain.  Perhaps I have that sense that, in a moment,  just like the character Henry frequently does in The Time Traveler’s Wife, my life could simply … vanish.

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One thought on “thoughts on “The Time Traveler’s Wife”

  1. I must say, it always perplexed (and somewhat worried!) me that you ENJOY sad endings. But, your explanation I think was good!

    Now, if someone could tell me why people like those “Saw” movies, I’ll be OK! Me, I can’t even watch the trailer without being sickened…

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