The Time Traveler's Wife (film)

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The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife film poster.jpg
Directed byRobert Schwentke
Produced by
Screenplay byBruce Joel Rubin
Based onThe Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Music byMychael Danna
CinematographyFlorian Ballhaus
Edited byThom Noble
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release date
August 14, 2009 (2009-08-14)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$39 million[1]
Box office$101.3 million[1]

The Time Traveler's Wife is a 2009 American romantic science fiction drama film based on Audrey Niffenegger's 2003 novel of the same name.[2] Directed by Robert Schwentke, the film stars Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, and Ron Livingston. The story follows Henry DeTamble (Bana), a Chicago librarian with a paranormal genetic disorder that causes him to randomly time travel as he tries to build a romantic relationship with Clare Abshire (McAdams), who would become his wife.[3]

Filming began in September 2007, originally in anticipation of an autumn 2008 release. The film's release was postponed with initially no official explanation from the studio.[4] McAdams later noted that the delay was due to additional scenes and reshoots that could not be completed until the season at their outdoor location matched previously filmed footage, and Bana had regrown his hair following his work on the 2009 film Star Trek.[5][6] The film was released on August 14, 2009, by New Line Cinema. [7]


In the early 1970s, Henry DeTamble is in a car accident that kills his mother but which he survives by inadvertently time traveling back two weeks. Moments later, Henry is helped by an older version of himself who has also traveled back. Unable to control the timing or destinations of his traveling, Henry finds himself drawn to significant people, places, and events in his life but is incapable of changing events beyond the minor differences his presence creates.

In 1991, Henry meets Clare Abshire in the library where he works. She is overjoyed to see him although he is actually meeting her for the first time. Clare explains that she met Henry's future self when she was a child, and that he informed her then that they would meet in the future, which is happening at the moment. Since childhood, Henry has been Clare's best friend and has visited her. As a child, Clare develops a crush on Henry, and she is upset to learn that he is married. When Clare turns 18, two years before their meeting at the library, the older Henry kisses her, leading her to realize that he is her husband in the future. They begin a relationship, which is challenged by Henry's disorder. His sporadic time traveling is further complicated by the fact that he arrives at his destinations completely naked. From an early age, he had learned how to pick locks and to steal clothing to endure his travels. Among his getaways are many visits to young Clare. From present-day Clare's diary, he gets a list of dates when he visited her, and gives those to young Clare so that she can be waiting for him with clothes. Falling in love, Henry and Clare eventually marry, though he actually time travels away before the ceremony and a visibly older version of himself arrives in time to step in, slightly confusing the guests.

Henry's disappearances take a toll on his relationship with Clare. To make up for this, Henry buys a winning lottery ticket by having the numbers in advance, but their relationship still has problems. Henry and Clare witness a middle-aged wounded Henry briefly arrive from another time, leaving them concerned about how long Henry has to live. His disorder also makes having a child with Clare seemingly impossible, as Henry's genes cause their unborn fetuses to time travel. They seek a renowned doctor's help, but after numerous similar miscarriages, Henry has a secret vasectomy to end their suffering. However, soon after, Clare gets pregnant one last time—by a visiting younger version of Henry—and carries the baby to full term. Before the child is born, Henry travels forward in time and happily meets their pre-teen daughter, Alba. She tells him that she is a time traveler, too, but has increasing control over when and where she travels. Alba tells Henry that he will die when she is five years old, a fact that Henry subsequently hides from Clare. Alba's pre-teen self, who ultimately tries to prepare her younger self for Henry's death, visits young Alba sporadically. Clare is devastated to discover Henry's impending death. Later, Henry time travels and is accidentally shot by Clare's father, who is hunting elk. Henry returns in time to die in Clare's arms. Some years later, a younger Henry visits Alba and Clare, giving Clare hope that he will visit again, though he tells her not to spend her life waiting for him, hoping this encounter would provide a proper closure for both Clare and Alba.



The film rights for Audrey Niffenegger's 2003 novel The Time Traveler's Wife were optioned by Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt's production company Plan B Entertainment, in association with New Line Cinema, before the work was even published.[11][12] Niffenegger stated in an interview that as she was writing the book, she had thoughts of how a film version of the book would appear.[13] When asked about the prospect of her novel being turned into a film, Niffenegger said, "I've got my little movie that runs in my head. And I'm kind of afraid that will be changed or wiped out by what somebody else might do with it. And it is sort of thrilling and creepy, because now the characters have an existence apart from me."[14]

In September 2003, the studio hired screenwriter Jeremy Leven to write an adapted screenplay of the novel.[15] Directors Steven Spielberg and David Fincher briefly expressed interest in the project, though no negotiations took place.[16] In March 2005, director Gus Van Sant entered negotiations with the studio to helm the project.[17] The negotiations did not hold, and in November 2006, director Robert Schwentke was instead hired to take over the project.[16]

In January 2007, New Line hired screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin to rewrite Leven's script.[12] Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams were cast in April 2007.[3] Filming began in Toronto on September 10, 2007.[18] It was also shot in Hamilton, Ontario.[19] The film was originally planned for a fall 2008 release, but it was postponed with no official explanation from the studio.[4] When asked about the delay, McAdams said, "We wound up doing a reshoot, and Eric was the holdup … He had to shave his head for a different role, for Star Trek, I think … We did an additional scene in the meadow, so we were also waiting on the meadow to look the way it did [the first time we shot]. So we were waiting on the seasons. Basically we were waiting on nature and Eric's hair."[5] The film was released by Warner Bros. on August 14, 2009.[7][20]


The score to The Time Traveler's Wife was composed by Mychael Danna, who recorded his score with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Ocean Way Studios during the fall of 2008.[21] The movie repeatedly features the musical theme of an old German hymn, "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen", whose familiar harmonization was written by German composer Michael Praetorius. This is heard just prior to the early car accident, is played at holiday gatherings, and is otherwise interwoven into the score. The trailer featured the song "Broken", by Lifehouse, which is in the film and the promotional music video. A television commercial for the film featured the song "Show Me What I'm Looking For", by Carolina Liar, although it was not included within the soundtrack. The film also features a cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart", performed by Canadian indie rock band Broken Social Scene.

The official motion picture soundtrack was released as a download on August 11, 2009 by New Line Records. A CD version was released by Decca Records, but is generally only available from vendors outside the United States.


The Time Traveler's Wife (Music from the Motion Picture)
The Time Traveler's Wife soundtrack cover art.jpg
Soundtrack album (Digital download) by
Mychael Danna
ReleasedAugust 11, 2009
LabelNew Line Records
Professional ratings
Review scores
Filmtracks.com3/5 stars[22]

All music composed by Mychael Danna.

The Time Traveler's Wife (Music From the Motion Picture)
No.TitleWriter(s)Original artist(s)Length
1."Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" (performed by Isabel Bayrakdarian)  0:51
2."I'm You Henry"  2:30
3."Meadow"  3:19
4."How Does It Feel?"  1:59
5."Diary"  1:21
6."Train"  1:43
7."I Don't Feel Alone Anymore"  2:22
8."Love Will Tear Us Apart"Broken Social Scene4:44
9."Married to Me"  1:04
10."Home"  1:36
11."Do You Know When?"  2:09
12."Testing"  1:04
13."Alba"  2:33
14."I Never Had a Choice"  2:58
15."Who Would Want That"  2:29
16."I Left Him Sleeping"  1:30
17."It's a Girl"  2:58
18."Five Years"  2:03
19."Try to Stay"  1:40
20."New Year's Eve"  1:55
21."No Tracks in the Snow"  1:48
22."See You Again"  5:42
23."Broken"Jason WadeLifehouse4:47
Total length:55:02

Additional songs[edit]

There were three songs appearing in the film, but not included with the release of the soundtrack.


Critical response[edit]

The film has received mixed reviews from critics for the same reasons as the novel, praising the characterization of the couple, applauding their emotional depth; others criticized the melodramatic style and the plot as emotionally trite.[23] Based on 157 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, The Time Traveler's Wife has a 38% approval rating from critics, with an average score of 5.1/10 saying, "Though it may satisfy fans of the novel, The Time Traveler's Wife's plot's contrivances and illogical narrative hamper its big screen effectiveness".[24] Metacritic, another review aggregator which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film an average score of 47 based on 31 reviews.[23]

Box office[edit]

The film opened third behind District 9 and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, grossing $19.2 million on its opening weekend.[25] Grossing $101,229,792 worldwide (over $63,000,000 of which was grossed in the United States) on a $39,000,000 budget, the film was a financial success.[1]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 9, 2010, by New Line Home Entertainment. This is the last film to be distributed by themselves. From then on, New Line films are being distributed on home media by Warner Home Video, which absorbed New Line Home Entertainment in 2010, after New Line was absorbed by Warner Bros. in 2008. [26]


  1. ^ a b c "The Time Traveler's Wife (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
  2. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (August 21, 2009). "Movie Review: The Time Traveler's Wife". Entertainment Weekly. #1061/1062. p. 94. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Michael Fleming; Dave McNary (2007-04-17). "New Line finds its cast on 'Time'". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  4. ^ a b Justin Strout (2009-01-07). "Beyond The Cape". San Antonio Current. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
  5. ^ a b Fred Topel (2009-03-27). "How Eric Bana's shaved Trek head held up Time Traveler's Wife". Sci Fi Wire. Retrieved 2016-02-21.
  6. ^ Valby, Karen (2009-04-24). "Spotlight on Rachel McAdams". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
  7. ^ a b Sciretta, Peter (2009-03-12). "The Time Traveler's Wife Will Finally See Release in August". /Film. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  8. ^ Borys Kit (2007-08-22). "Livingston married to NL's 'Wife'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
  9. ^ "Hollywood star on the rise Canadian actress Jane McLean hits the big screen in the upcoming drama The Time Traveler's Wife". Retrieved August 15, 2009.
  10. ^ Ellis, Suzanne (June 3, 2008) Actress Michelle Nolden Recalls 'Time Travelling' With Eric Bana Archived 2008-06-06 at the Wayback Machine, Toronto television station
  11. ^ Dave McNary, "Rubin rewriting 'Time'", Variety (January 2, 2007). Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  12. ^ a b Dave McNary (2007-01-02). "Rubin rewriting 'Time'". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  13. ^ "Interview: Audrey Niffenegger". Chicagoist. 2007-05-09. Archived from the original on 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2007-09-13. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  14. ^ James Cowan, "Niffenegger's first book, and it's about time", National Post (December 3, 2003). LexisNexis (subscription required). Retrieved April 25, 2009.
  15. ^ Michael Fleming (2003-09-07). "Feud for thought". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-18. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  16. ^ a b Borys Kit; Nicole Sperling (2006-11-01). "Schwentke finds time for NL's 'Wife'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2006-11-08. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  17. ^ "Van Sant Helming Time Traveler's Wife". 2005-03-17. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  18. ^ "Domestic film: In production". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
  19. ^ "Internet Movie Database – List of Films shot in Hamilton, Ontario". Retrieved 2008-01-25.
  20. ^ Carl DiOrio, "Warners moves up 'Traveler's", The Hollywood Reporter (March 16, 2009). Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  21. ^ Dan Goldwasser (2008-12-09). "Mychael Danna scores The Time Traveler's Wife". Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  22. ^ Clemmensen, Christian. "The Time Taveler's Wife". Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  23. ^ a b "The Time Traveler's Wife (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  24. ^ "The Time Traveler's Wife Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
  25. ^ Young, John (2009-08-16). "Box Office Report: District 9 conquers competition with $37 million". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2009-08-16. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  26. ^ ASIN B001HN69C2, The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

External links[edit]