If Kurt Vonnegut was a Romantic, or, Billy Pilgrim “with benefits”

No, it’s not a new movie but The Time Travelers Wife is really quite something…and therein lies the paradox. What is it? Is it truly science fiction, is it a romance or is it a horror story? I’m thinking the answer is yes; and here is why (and parenthetically why I adore this movie).

First however, a question to you, the reader. Why am I mentioning Vonnegut and this movie in the same breath? Two reasons actually. First, Vonnegut claimed amazement at the fact that he wrote Science fiction, claiming the he didn’t know he has until he saw one of his books in the Sci-Fi Section of a bookstore. The same holds true for this move, as it defies being put into any one genre and is very slippery to define it into any box. Secondly, the amazing similarities between Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim and Eric Bana as Henry is somehow both amazing and yet very different; amazing because they both have become “unstuck in time” and different because unlike Billy, Henry is not the main focus of the film, as very accurately implied by the title. Henry is, in fact, a catalyst for Clare’s adventures and the subsequent interplay with all the others in their universe.

What makes this movie interesting is not the visual effects, but the story. Nothing beats a good love story; nothing trumps the heart, ever. The fact that it’s set within a Sci-Fi framework with meticulous attention to detail makes it all the more a glorious experience. It breaks a cannon of time travel: you cannot occupy the same space twice, you cannot meet yourself. It breaks it repeatedly and yet, it’s ok. This is a great move. If it has a fatal flaw it is that it defies convention, it resists definition, it asks so very much from the audience and that is not something many American audiences are willing to give. Is this a great movie? Yes, it is, without reservation. What may keep you from enjoying it is your own convention. It is, without a doubt, heartbreakingly beautiful.

This is Dome, sayin:  Here’s hoping someone loves you enough to leave shoes for you in the forest.

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