For My Beloved, you are my Clare.
Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
Clare (Rachel McAdams) stumbled on to him in the library of all places. “Henry it’s you. You told me this would happen. I’m supposed to be acting normal but I’m not acting normal.” Henry (Eric Bana) had no idea who she was, drawing an absolute blank. Clare’s countenance changed instantly, her lips could not contain the beaming smile and the tone in her voice. He could feel how happy she was to see him and could not explain why.
She looked at him as if she knew him deeply. No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t figure out who she was or why he made her feel that way. “I’m Clare Abshire. I know you don’t know me. I know how odd this must be for you but would you like to have dinner with me? And I’ll explain. Henry we’ve been planning this dinner for a long time… Go to the Bow Tie it’s your favorite… Don’t worry everything’s gonna be ok.”
Our minds wander off, sometimes uncontrollably. But it goes back to focus just as easily. What if your body went somewhere you couldn’t control, not just through space but time? That’s the premise in “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” Based on the success of the novel by Audrey Niffeneger a lot of people can relate to the problems caused by it. Not necessarily the science, Einstein believed time travel is possible. This review is 2 years late, the film was released in 2009 and yet it reached me via HBO Asia, which airs it. The film traveled through time that way, thankfully.
We can all relate to it because we’ve all wanted to be with someone and yet we’re apart out of necessity or lack of control of the situation. Henry De Tramble (Eric Bana) has a genetic condition where he involuntarily disappears and travels time. His clothes don’t go with him that’s why he’s stark naked wherever he lands and has to grab the nearest garment available. If that would mean stealing or breaking and entering he’d do it. He has learned to survive with his condition. No one can explain how or why it happens.
Somehow he pops out of certain places more often than others. He can’t control when or where he’s going. The only thing he can do is to react once he’s there. The first time he travels is at age six the moment he witnesses his mother’s death in a car accident. Alcohol helps to numb the pain from that loss and the loneliness that comes with his disease. Meeting Clare that day changed all that. Was it the first time they’ve met? Did he see her in the future? There are many ‘first’ meetings, whether or not he or she’s aware of it.
For some reason Clare is the center of his universe. Henry explaining it to Clare said, “It’s like gravity. Big events pull you in.” Clare replies, “I was a big event.” He agrees, “So it would seem.” The dialogue is one that affects the heart immediately. This is where screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin deserves a lot of credit. How do you condense a great novel into an hour and a half and still retain the spirit? The challenge was met very ably by Rubin.
Rachel McAdams is cast perfectly as Clare. She has that wholesome quality. Her eyes light up with complete sincerity and joy that makes everyone fall for her. Rachel had a similar role in “The Notebook” opposite Ryan Gosling. She is the happiness in Henry’s life that he never thought was possible. His own father did not believe that he’d find someone who could love him because of his condition.
Clare was sleeping when he slipped his mother’s engagement ring on her finger. She wakes up bewildered. Henry says, “I never wanted to have anything in my life that I couldn’t stand losing. But it’s too late for that. It’s not because you’re beautiful and smart. I don’t feel alone anymore. Will you marry me?” She responds matter of factly convincingly “No.” Then her face breaks into another one of her beaming smiles and says, “I didn’t mean that. I just wanted to try it, to say it, to assert my own sense of free will, but my free will wants you.,” “So it’s a yes?” “Yes, of course!” That line by Clare is exactly what Rachel McAdams as an actress represents. She has that engaging, playful sometimes funny and incredibly affectionate persona.
Although there is some light humor, the core of the movie is that every moment spent with the people we love is precious. Whether you’re traveling to the past or the future, one should never waste time in waiting to express love.