The Time Traveler’s Wife Review

Dear Rachel McAdams… err, Clare,

This is being written to you as a request for information about your husband Eric Bana… err, Henry DeTamble (sorry). As recent information has come to light, including a book and a movie about his condition, some questions remain.

For instance, you knowingly married this man who has a genetic condition and uncontrollably time travels against his will. Why then Mrs. Abshire are you angry when he does not come around to see you for two weeks? Are you lacking the common sense that the one man in the world with this condition (and with no help in understanding it) might not be with you at all times?

Besides, if you were dumb enough to marry the creepy naked 40-year old man who met you in a field when you were six, you probably should have saw some of these problems coming. Here is a guy who is actually dead for the entire movie. The man is freakin’ dead and still manages to make time to love you, and you’re complaining? Girlfriend, you need some therapy.

Still, there are some other questions left, mostly about your husband (or is it your past husband since he is sort of but not really dead?). If he cannot control his time travel, how is it that he manages to show up to your wedding three times, at three different stages in his life? That is rather specific, is it not?

Also, he claims to have learned the art of time travel when he was a small child, about six years old. If he can make your wedding three times within an hour or so, why did he need to be 40 when he first met you? This is not a restriction of time travel for sure. Somehow, he can go into the future to see his daughter long after he died when she was five, so surely he could time travel and meet you when you were both the same age, right?

It is also odd why his death is such an emotional moment, lying there on the floor with friends surrounding him. Did he not tell you at some point:

“Honey, I’m going to die. Yes, it will be tough, but know that since I am beyond super human, my younger self(s?) will still able to travel through time to see you. It’s really no big deal, but I’m a jerk so I’ll invite all of our close friends over to see me naked and dying on the floor as a practical joke. Ha ha, right?”

We’re far from done here though. It seems the movie portrays poor Eric as confused, unsure of the time frame when he warps (asking people what year it is), yet he somehow knows how old he is. Since the audience is confused, given the total lack of make-up to assist in making anyone appear older or younger, how is he able to keep track of his own age? He certainly failed to remember that vasectomy he had. Maybe it is a guy thing…

And what if two Eric’s were in the same place at the same time, and you had sex with one of them? Is that considered cheating? Would you be creeped out if one of them just sat back and watched?

These are questions that need answers, because if the world is not given them, they will look back befuddled that anyone had the gall to tell a story like this and actually pass it off as entertainment. You wouldn’t do that, right Rachel Mc… err, Clare, would you?

Movie ★☆☆☆☆ 

Plot Holes… err, Time Traveler’s Wife (sorry again) comes from New Line/Warner in an inconsistent yet typically pleasing VC-1 encode. Colors are tinted warmly, giving flesh tones a slightly bronzed yet still natural hue. Some ringing around high contrast edges is forgivable given how limited it can be. Black levels are deep, inky, and certainly satisfactory despite some tendency to swallow detail whole via crush.

Sharpness rarely wavers, delivering a crisp image, although one that fails to fully resolve the finest of details at all times. Bana’s visit to his older daughter at the zoo is an example of how spectacular this transfer can be, completely revealing facial details, clothing textures, and a beautiful, bright environment. Much of the wedding scene is equal as well, for the same reasons.

On the other hand, the rest of the movie can vary wildly. An odd shot at 16:50 has Bana in bed appearing completely smoothed over. Grain is typically under control with a few faults, such as a solid colored door at 33:23 that shows some significant artifacting. To be fair, this never looks terrible, and with a consistent level of detail (especially with establishing shots that show flicker or general softness), this could have been spectacular.

Video ★★★★☆ 

A DTS-HD mix has only a few moments to show off, notably a beefy, loud car crash right from the start. Near the end, a fireworks display provides ample opportunity for bass and surround use, which it does wonderfully. A gunshot, also late, delivers a forceful low-end jolt.

Some light ambiance is noted as Bana enters the city, the usual array of police sirens and pedestrian chatter. The grassy field young Clare is having a picnic in has some noticeable bird chirps as well. Dialogue is on par in terms of fidelity for modern films, and expecting less would be relatively ridiculous. The minimal music is clear with no noticeable problems.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

Two featurettes make up the entirety of the extras, the first a solid making-of called An Unconventional Love Story that runs for 26-minutes, and Love Beyond Words, which details the process of bringing the book to the screen for 21-minutes. These are great, because it means less time you have to spend on this tripe.

Extras ★★☆☆☆ 

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can follow Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki. His Amazon wish list is available for those wishing to help out.
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  • irascian

    Too harsh by far, I think Matt. Action films aimed at men never get this level of “suspension of disbelief” scrutiny so why does a film aimed at women. It's the movies – a certain amount of “suspension of disbelief” is de rigeur these days.

    You main justification for the poor review seems to be that your own time-travel rules are broken or inconsistent, but who said there had to be rules? Sure appearing three times at different ages at the wedding was a little hokey but the line “I get pulled back to places/times where I have strong emotional attachments” was a quick explanation (given before we got to see the wedding) sufficient to explain the basic hokey premise of the whole thing (I mean heck, this is time travel – of course, it's hokey!)

    I don't understand you criticism of the fact the character knows how old he is – but never what year he's transported to. Why should he? If you time travelled, given the “random” premise of the film, you'd know your own age but not where you'd end up so why is this an inconsistency or a flaw?

    The wife gets upset when he vanishes for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year? Well yeah, we all have bad days, even when we've signed upfront for problems we think we can cope with. Ain't that the reason we have all that “in sickness and in health” stuff upfront when we get married – it doesn't mean we're actually going to be ready for that reality when it hits us hard at particularly difficult or emotional times in our lives.

    I haven't read the book, and gather that most think the book was unfilmable. For me the film worked fine which indicates a certain level of success – albeit as a “packet of hankies” weepie aimed more at women than men. But I'd take this over a Vince Vaughn or Jennifer Anniston rom-com anyday. I think your awarding of just one star based on an incredibly nit-picky critique of some minor points is rather unfair. As a movie it works rather well, apparently against all the odds if those saying the book is unfilmable are to be believed :-P

  • gamereviewgod

    My problem was the time travel makes the entire thing unwatchable. He randomly changes ages with no real sense of the who/what/when/wheres. There are an infinite number of Eric Banas running around the world at any given point. If he was one age, and warped around through different times, it might have made sense. This isn't being nitpicky, it is the crucial crux of the story. It's the only thing that makes this story different than the countless other “chick flicks,” and it does it so poorly, and confusingly, it becomes impossible to follow.

    It was so sloppily put together, McAdams looks exactly the same at 18 as she does at 35. No wonder Bana is confused. So was I. Was that edit a second ago evidence of time travel or is just part of a montage? Does it even matter? Is she older? Is he younger?

    I understand how he would be confused by what time he was in, but then how could he know how old he is considering when he warps, he is suddenly younger/older?

    I fully understand that time travel is going to create problems… lots of them. Terminator 2 is one of the most plot-hole filled stories ever, but it has a base of logic, and yes, some ground rules. McAdams has NO reason to be with him. They're never seen at any point “falling for each other” or some other romantic cliche. He sees her a kid, tells her he'll be back, and that's it. Boom. Romance. Huh?

    Would also like to point out this has a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes as back up. ;)

  • irascian

    Well at the risk of prolonging this: It has 7.2 on imdb (which is high) and in the UK rottentomatoes shows 35% which goes up to 55% when “Top Critics” are selected – which is a long way from 1 star. I'll go with the “Top Critics” and the “Public” if that's OK with you ;-)

    I don't understand the comment about how he is suddenly younger/older when he warps. He is the age he's at when he has the attack when he warps. Admittedly at the beginning of the film we are shown different warps of him at different ages – but, as the director explains on the 'Making of' that is because he wants the audience to find it as unsettling as it would be if they were time travelling themselves. Nobody is saying this is in the lead character's chronological sequence But once the premise has been set up it settles into long periods of domesticity that are pretty much in chronological sequence before each new trip.

    I think the time travel gives it a new twist, and makes it resonate deeper because of the knowledge of things to come that can't be revealed to the other partner, rather than making it “unwatchable”. Again, to quote one of the extra's, as Bana says “Imagine what it would be like to go back in time and meet your wife as a child and get to know her at that age”. I can accept that would create a deep link. Several times it's explained that the first meeting at six years old is what's fixated the “romance” in McAdams mind – yet you say this gives her NO reason to be with him? The guy vanished in front of her eyes, predicted her future for God's sake. It gives her every reason to be with him, albeit as they explain on the extra's because she's rather naive about what this will mean longer term (until she's married him) and too obsessed with the romanticism of being able to say she knows a time traveller. On Bana's side he's been on his own, miserable for a long time and then a pretty stranger approaches him, says she knows his secret, loves him and has a future with him. He's not going to run away, is he?

    Which brings me back to my original “2 weeks away” comment. She IS naive about what the relationship will entail, but as is explained in that scene he's only ever disappeared for a day or two at most before. If someone then suddenly disappeared for a whole 2 weeks at a “family/relationship” time of year, well then yeah, you might be put out somewhat.

    And just finally, to return to that RottenTomatoes rating – if you read the reviews they mostly complain that the film is just a woman's weepie or too bland – which are fairer criticisms I think than nit-picking the time travel rules.

    I'll shut up now, but I'm right and you're wrong :-P

  • gamereviewgod

    Prolonging this? I could do this all day. ;)

    A six year old girl is never going to fully understand the implications of what has happened. It may stay with her, but you're surely not going to fall in love with the guy, marry him, and have kids because of it. Stick around to talk with him, sure, but all of that? That's not chemistry or any kind of connection.

    “I don't understand the comment about how he is suddenly younger/older when he warps”

    He changes three times during the wedding. The father even makes a note of it, mentioning his gray hair. He doesn't change ages per se so much as he warps from different time periods, turning the entire timeline into a story of an infinite number of Eric Banas running around the planet at once. He doesn't know who Clare is in the opening library scene, because he didn't meet young Clare until he was older, but comes back later in the movie younger and still knows who she is to get her pregnant completely forgetting his older self had a vasectomy. Huh???

    Roger Ebert said this:

    “If you allow yourself to think for one moment of the paradoxes, contradictions and logical difficulties involved, you will be lost. The movie supports no objective thought.”

    That's my problem with it, because at its core, it's just trying to be a generic romance story. The only thing it offers is the time travel aspect, which makes NO sense. At some point, the logic does come into play, and it ruins everything. It lost me, pulled me completely out of the story and any sense of romance, no matter how cliched it is.

    For comparison, it's the same problem I have with Twilight, which is yet another generic romance, only with vampires that have terribly written, illogical histories. If you're going to spend the time trying to do something unique with the genre (or any genre), do it right. Don't just make Bana time travel or Edward sparkle for the hell of it. Give it a purpose. Think it over.

    And now I know that I'm right. ;)

  • irascian

    Yeah, but even with all his criticisms Ebert gave it 2.5 stars rather than 1 :-P

    I do not understand how a younger version of oneself could know that an older version had had a vasectomy. Do you know what you're going to have done in a few year's time? Why should Bana's character be any different?

    Also don't follow your comment about him coming back “younger” than when he hadn't met Claire but knowing her (again, did I miss something? What made you think he was “younger” than when he didn't know her?) Yes, he wasn't the “older” version we'd seen on several occasions but he could have been just a few weeks older than when he first met her – nothing in the script or plot I saw implied he was “younger” and I really don't understand why you would assume that?

    As for the wedding. Yes he came back 3 times because of the “gravitational pull” he felt towards certain emotional or important events. Is there anything more emotional than a wedding? A bit silly (and actually completely unnecessary to the plot-line, other than to add a bit of humour) but nothing that contradicted the main premise. Incidentally it's also the explanation for him returning to where he first met Claire as a six year old girl – which of course ends up very badly at the end.

    Time travel's confusing but I thought this held up well when you analysed it. The “Making of” shows the director discussing how they pasted up all the timelines and made sure it was coherent and held together (interesting that in the book Claire gets pregnant by cheating with the “Young” Bana character while “older” Bana character is in bed next to her).

  • gamereviewgod

    It's not how a younger version of one's self could know what the older one did. It's the other way around. Why would the older one bother when the younger one had a kid anyway? What good does the old Bana getting a vasectomy do when they younger one is still running around uncut, for lack of a better term? How would the older Bana not know his younger self had a kid?

    I worded the other one badly about the library. What I meant was the “young” Bana, not “younger” Bana that first met her. It is hard to separate the two, or the millions of Banas running around in some future, despite being dead, which also makes no sense. I guess even when you're dead, if you can travel to the future with your past self, you're technically invincible, making his death scene utterly pointless.

    I love the fact that book has that scene. I joked about in the review having no idea that was there, but that creates some intrigue, even if having multiple Banas in the same place at the same time just creates a whole separate set of problems like it does in the movie too.

  • irascian

    Well apparently the book has Bana meeting himself on many different occasions. The film-makers deliberately chose to cut this out to stop the viewer being distracted by trying to guess at the camera tricks that would need to be used to effect the meetings.

    The “Making of” also explains that the book's original structure had 10 different versions of bana running around and they decided they had to simplify things down to just two – a “younger” and an “older” version.

    This is what, for me, made it a good attempt at turning an “unfilmable” book into something that was watchable and understandable (although your mileage varies obviously). I would still maintain that despite Ebert's argument that the audience would be “lost” is wrong. He's guessing at what the public will be able to work out for themselves. That average score on imdb indicates he seriously under-estimated the audience's intelligence at being able to follow along.

    The “Making of” makes the point that it's a film that stands up to repeated viewings and even that repeated viewings make things much clearer. I'm sure that comment could be taken at face value as a criticism (“You have to see it twice to understand it”) – but then that same criticism should also be aimed at “Memento” or “The Sixth Sense” – both of which were critically acclaimed.

    The “Making of” is rather confusing in that it refers to Bana's character having sex with himself and this being cut from the film. Before going on to explain that in the book this was Bana's younger self making Claire pregnant, while Bana slept (or watched – it's all a bit confusing!)

  • irascian

    Too harsh by far, I think Matt. Action films aimed at men never get this level of “suspension of disbelief” scrutiny so why does a film aimed at women. It's the movies – a certain amount of “suspension of disbelief” is de rigeur these days.

    You main justification for the poor review seems to be that your own time-travel rules are broken or inconsistent, but who said there had to be rules? Sure appearing three times at different ages at the wedding was a little hokey but the line “I get pulled back to places/times where I have strong emotional attachments” was a quick explanation (given before we got to see the wedding) sufficient to explain the basic hokey premise of the whole thing (I mean heck, this is time travel – of course, it's hokey!)

    I don't understand you criticism of the fact the character knows how old he is – but never what year he's transported to. Why should he? If you time travelled, given the “random” premise of the film, you'd know your own age but not where you'd end up so why is this an inconsistency or a flaw?

    The wife gets upset when he vanishes for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year? Well yeah, we all have bad days, even when we've signed upfront for problems we think we can cope with. Ain't that the reason we have all that “in sickness and in health” stuff upfront when we get married – it doesn't mean we're actually going to be ready for that reality when it hits us hard at particularly difficult or emotional times in our lives.

    I haven't read the book, and gather that most think the book was unfilmable. For me the film worked fine which indicates a certain level of success – albeit as a “packet of hankies” weepie aimed more at women than men. But I'd take this over a Vince Vaughn or Jennifer Anniston rom-com anyday. I think your awarding of just one star based on an incredibly nit-picky critique of some minor points is rather unfair. As a movie it works rather well, apparently against all the odds if those saying the book is unfilmable are to be believed :-P

  • gamereviewgod

    My problem was the time travel makes the entire thing unwatchable. He randomly changes ages with no real sense of the who/what/when/wheres. There are an infinite number of Eric Banas running around the world at any given point. If he was one age, and warped around through different times, it might have made sense. This isn't being nitpicky, it is the crucial crux of the story. It's the only thing that makes this story different than the countless other “chick flicks,” and it does it so poorly, and confusingly, it becomes impossible to follow.

    It was so sloppily put together, McAdams looks exactly the same at 18 as she does at 35. No wonder Bana is confused. So was I. Was that edit a second ago evidence of time travel or is just part of a montage? Does it even matter? Is she older? Is he younger?

    I understand how he would be confused by what time he was in, but then how could he know how old he is considering when he warps, he is suddenly younger/older?

    I fully understand that time travel is going to create problems… lots of them. Terminator 2 is one of the most plot-hole filled stories ever, but it has a base of logic, and yes, some ground rules. McAdams has NO reason to be with him. They're never seen at any point “falling for each other” or some other romantic cliche. He sees her a kid, tells her he'll be back, and that's it. Boom. Romance. Huh?

    Would also like to point out this has a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes as back up. ;)

  • irascian

    Well at the risk of prolonging this: It has 7.2 on imdb (which is high) and in the UK rottentomatoes shows 35% which goes up to 55% when “Top Critics” are selected – which is a long way from 1 star. I'll go with the “Top Critics” and the “Public” if that's OK with you ;-)

    I don't understand the comment about how he is suddenly younger/older when he warps. He is the age he's at when he has the attack when he warps. Admittedly at the beginning of the film we are shown different warps of him at different ages – but, as the director explains on the 'Making of' that is because he wants the audience to find it as unsettling as it would be if they were time travelling themselves. Nobody is saying this is in the lead character's chronological sequence But once the premise has been set up it settles into long periods of domesticity that are pretty much in chronological sequence before each new trip.

    I think the time travel gives it a new twist, and makes it resonate deeper because of the knowledge of things to come that can't be revealed to the other partner, rather than making it “unwatchable”. Again, to quote one of the extra's, as Bana says “Imagine what it would be like to go back in time and meet your wife as a child and get to know her at that age”. I can accept that would create a deep link. Several times it's explained that the first meeting at six years old is what's fixated the “romance” in McAdams mind – yet you say this gives her NO reason to be with him? The guy vanished in front of her eyes, predicted her future for God's sake. It gives her every reason to be with him, albeit as they explain on the extra's because she's rather naive about what this will mean longer term (until she's married him) and too obsessed with the romanticism of being able to say she knows a time traveller. On Bana's side he's been on his own, miserable for a long time and then a pretty stranger approaches him, says she knows his secret, loves him and has a future with him. He's not going to run away, is he?

    Which brings me back to my original “2 weeks away” comment. She IS naive about what the relationship will entail, but as is explained in that scene he's only ever disappeared for a day or two at most before. If someone then suddenly disappeared for a whole 2 weeks at a “family/relationship” time of year, well then yeah, you might be put out somewhat.

    And just finally, to return to that RottenTomatoes rating – if you read the reviews they mostly complain that the film is just a woman's weepie or too bland – which are fairer criticisms I think than nit-picking the time travel rules.

    I'll shut up now, but I'm right and you're wrong :-P

  • gamereviewgod

    Prolonging this? I could do this all day. ;)

    A six year old girl is never going to fully understand the implications of what has happened. It may stay with her, but you're surely not going to fall in love with the guy, marry him, and have kids because of it. Stick around to talk with him, sure, but all of that? That's not chemistry or any kind of connection.

    “I don't understand the comment about how he is suddenly younger/older when he warps”

    He changes three times during the wedding. The father even makes a note of it, mentioning his gray hair. He doesn't change ages per se so much as he warps from different time periods, turning the entire timeline into a story of an infinite number of Eric Banas running around the planet at once. He doesn't know who Clare is in the opening library scene, because he didn't meet young Clare until he was older, but comes back later in the movie younger and still knows who she is to get her pregnant completely forgetting his older self had a vasectomy. Huh???

    Roger Ebert said this:

    “If you allow yourself to think for one moment of the paradoxes, contradictions and logical difficulties involved, you will be lost. The movie supports no objective thought.”

    That's my problem with it, because at its core, it's just trying to be a generic romance story. The only thing it offers is the time travel aspect, which makes NO sense. At some point, the logic does come into play, and it ruins everything. It lost me, pulled me completely out of the story and any sense of romance, no matter how cliched it is.

    For comparison, it's the same problem I have with Twilight, which is yet another generic romance, only with vampires that have terribly written, illogical histories. If you're going to spend the time trying to do something unique with the genre (or any genre), do it right. Don't just make Bana time travel or Edward sparkle for the hell of it. Give it a purpose. Think it over.

    And now I know that I'm right. ;)

  • irascian

    Yeah, but even with all his criticisms Ebert gave it 2.5 stars rather than 1 :-P

    I do not understand how a younger version of oneself could know that an older version had had a vasectomy. Do you know what you're going to have done in a few year's time? Why should Bana's character be any different?

    Also don't follow your comment about him coming back “younger” than when he hadn't met Claire but knowing her (again, did I miss something? What made you think he was “younger” than when he didn't know her?) Yes, he wasn't the “older” version we'd seen on several occasions but he could have been just a few weeks older than when he first met her – nothing in the script or plot I saw implied he was “younger” and I really don't understand why you would assume that?

    As for the wedding. Yes he came back 3 times because of the “gravitational pull” he felt towards certain emotional or important events. Is there anything more emotional than a wedding? A bit silly (and actually completely unnecessary to the plot-line, other than to add a bit of humour) but nothing that contradicted the main premise. Incidentally it's also the explanation for him returning to where he first met Claire as a six year old girl – which of course ends up very badly at the end.

    Time travel's confusing but I thought this held up well when you analysed it. The “Making of” shows the director discussing how they pasted up all the timelines and made sure it was coherent and held together (interesting that in the book Claire gets pregnant by cheating with the “Young” Bana character while “older” Bana character is in bed next to her).

  • gamereviewgod

    It's not how a younger version of one's self could know what the older one did. It's the other way around. Why would the older one bother when the younger one had a kid anyway? What good does the old Bana getting a vasectomy do when they younger one is still running around uncut, for lack of a better term? How would the older Bana not know his younger self had a kid?

    I worded the other one badly about the library. What I meant was the “young” Bana, not “younger” Bana that first met her. It is hard to separate the two, or the millions of Banas running around in some future, despite being dead, which also makes no sense. I guess even when you're dead, if you can travel to the future with your past self, you're technically invincible, making his death scene utterly pointless.

    I love the fact that book has that scene. I joked about in the review having no idea that was there, but that creates some intrigue, even if having multiple Banas in the same place at the same time just creates a whole separate set of problems like it does in the movie too.

  • irascian

    Well apparently the book has Bana meeting himself on many different occasions. The film-makers deliberately chose to cut this out to stop the viewer being distracted by trying to guess at the camera tricks that would need to be used to effect the meetings.

    The “Making of” also explains that the book's original structure had 10 different versions of bana running around and they decided they had to simplify things down to just two – a “younger” and an “older” version.

    This is what, for me, made it a good attempt at turning an “unfilmable” book into something that was watchable and understandable (although your mileage varies obviously). I would still maintain that despite Ebert's argument that the audience would be “lost” is wrong. He's guessing at what the public will be able to work out for themselves. That average score on imdb indicates he seriously under-estimated the audience's intelligence at being able to follow along.

    The “Making of” makes the point that it's a film that stands up to repeated viewings and even that repeated viewings make things much clearer. I'm sure that comment could be taken at face value as a criticism (“You have to see it twice to understand it”) – but then that same criticism should also be aimed at “Memento” or “The Sixth Sense” – both of which were critically acclaimed.

    The “Making of” is rather confusing in that it refers to Bana's character having sex with himself and this being cut from the film. Before going on to explain that in the book this was Bana's younger self making Claire pregnant, while Bana slept (or watched – it's all a bit confusing!)

  • Snowballs

    i just want to know, how did he die exactly. did clare's brother shoot him? did he die in the past and came back or ??? please explain someone who understood

  • belledame

    i’m gonna weigh in way late and suggest you read the novel. it is a fascinating piece of literature. the film is… an inadequate adaptation. the book is much more complex and descriptive, yet it also leaves you trying to puzzle together the contrivance of henry’s condition. the story is structured like so: a man with a genetic disorder is limited in the places and times to which he travels. the two rules are that he has virtually no control over the condition and that he cannot change the past: what happens happens. the fact that henry in his 30s and 40s visits Claire from ages 6 -18, and then not at all until he meets her in real life at her 20/his 27, then henry begins moving forward in time meeting his unborn daughter for years suggests a guiding hand. it’s almost like some divine mistake was made with henry and the only fix that could be found was to confine his movements so that he befriends and mentors a girl who aids him and becomes permanently attached to her mysterious, dashing, tall-dark-and-handsome, thereby becoming his perfect mate. But he is allowed to meet her in real time and get to know her as they build their relationship, THEN meet her as a child knowing so much about their history that he can maintain the continuity of the past.

    There are indeed infinite Henrys running around and they often interact. What the film only briefly touches on is the fact that Henry is his own mentor. He doesn’t come to his child self once, but repeatedly throughout his life. He teaches himself how to survive when he’s time-traveling, calling on his own childhood memories of the adult Henry who taught him. Henry’s life is like the Fates’ life thread. It is all fixed and only waiting to end.

    Henry did eventually come to know when and how he dies. As in the film, he is present to witness his death at the hands of Claire’s family. Something also better handled in the novel.

    Read the book. It’s a whole other something.