Love and Back Again
Review by Christopher Coleman
Romantic films that are box-office hits are pretty rare, although dozens upon dozens of them are released every year. For everY TITANIC, NOTEBOOK or ATONEMENT there are countless others that, while managing to draw many-a-female tear, don't draw equal numbers of dollars. On the other side of the ticket-stub, there have been even fewer films about time travel that turned into box office bonanzas. In fact, I cannot think of even one. So what an intriguing idea. Let's combine these two maddening concepts into a single film. That daring experiment comes in the form of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE based on Audrey Neffinegger's hit 2003 book of the same title. Director Robert Schwentke did well to arm himself with Eric Bana (didn't he learn his lesson in Star Trek that time travel isn't a good idea?) and Rachel McAdams as the lead actors and screenwriter Joel Rubin, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for GHOST. Still, the potential cosmic backlash in combining such deep issues of the mind (or science) with those of the heart could be more than a bit devastating to all involved...including audiences.
As opposed to his vengeful mission in Star Trek earlier this year, this time a genetic defect keeps Mr. Bana time-hoping in and out of the life of his future, current, and past wife. While the notion of meeting your, full-grown, future husband while you are still an adolescent be romantic, the repercussions of having a disappearing husband are numerous...and would seem to be clear. Of course, that's where the heart closes it's eyes and dives head long anyway. I had vainly hoped that there would be some balance to all of the lovey-dovey-ness by way of explanation of this time-travelling issue. Plain and simple, there was none. I should have know it, but THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE focuses on the emotional repercussions of this unique relational issue. The film makes no attempt to satisfy the intellectual conundrums it flaunts in our faces and this has left some sadly disconnected with this couple and their plight.
Regardless of the film's many weaknesses, the glaring strength is composer MYCHAEL DANNA's beautiful, original score. It will come as no surprise that Danna's music features many of the main staples of the romantic score: brilliant strings, soulful piano, woodwinds, cello...the works. With these in hand, DANNA goes on to craft some truly intoxicating, thematic material. Wave upon wave of musical romance is balance out with some evocative instrumentation and production representing the idea of time travel. Through his well-crafted score, MYCHAEL DANNA helps you to feel this destined love, while simultaneously making you ponder on this exotic dilemma these lovers are in.