On an icy winter night, Henry and his mother are traveling home from shopping when they notice an oncoming truck lose control. Unable to stop, their car crashes into the truck but not before Henry mysteriously vanishes. Appearing in his parents' house moments later, and two weeks earlier, Henry is shocked to see himself being read to by his parents in the living room. Vanishing again a couple minutes later, only to reappear safely a few hundred yards from the accident just as his mother's car and the truck are making contact, Henry is afraid, alone, and naked. Just then, a man comes up carrying a blanket and claiming to be his future self.
This is the opening scene of the film The Time Traveler's Wife, based upon a book written by Audrey Niffenegger. The movie is an excellent story about how Henry deals with randomly jumping through time, appearing in sometimes odd places. As he grows up, he begins resenting his condition until he meets Clare Abshire, a young woman claiming to have known him her entire life, although to him, the two have just met. Clare manages to get Henry to clean up his act, and his drinking problem, and the two begin a relationship that she and his older, time-traveling self had been planning.
Other than Henry's father, Clare is the only person who knows Henry's secret until a future Henry time travels back and meets Clare's friend Gomez outside of a club. Henry had been forced to put on some women's clothes (the only thing available to him when he appeared) and was engaged in a fight with some thugs who did not appreciate his dress. Gomez follows this older Henry, who somewhat cryptically explains the condition to him. After that Henry vanishes, Gomez goes to his present-day Henry and discusses the condition with him. After this point, Clare's other friend, Charisse (who is Gomez's girlfriend), is also brought into the secret.
With a heart wrenching ending and sci-fi overtones, this is a movie that geeks and their non-geek significant others can enjoy together. Eric Bana, who plays Henry (and is right off his turn as Nero in Star Trek), portrays a spectacular character. I give this movie an excellent rating both for the story as well as the wise handling of the time traveling paradox — Henry discovered at some point in his life that he could not change the past, which he talks about during the movie.
Have you seen or read The Time Traveler's Wife?
According to the poll results in Nicole Bremer Nash's post about which geek movie is worth paying theater prices to see, only 5% of you planned to see The Time Traveler's Wife at the cinema. I notice that at least one Geekend reader has seen the film and enjoyed it.
What about you: Have you seen or read The Time Traveler's Wife? If so, do you agree that it's an interesting geek story? If not, were you turned off because "it seems too mushy romantic," as Nicole noted in her post? Before you write it off as a romance, it might interest you to read the recent Slate article by Dave Goldberg entitled, "A physicist looks at The Time Traveler's Wife," in which he explains why he's so excited about the film adaptation.