Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The emotions and crises feel pre-sanded, smooth to the point of blandness. The transitional disappearances are routine.
The movie moves fast, as though to distract you from these shortcomings and the nearly total absence of logic.
New York Times:
Often ridiculous, awkward, unsatisfying and dour melodramatic adaptation.
We're left wondering afterward, how do these people feel about this extraordinary situation in which they've found themselves?
New York Magazine/Vulture:
I'm over the moon about this movie, which smooths out the psychological dissonances in Audrey Niffenegger's fine novel but is still an emotional workout.
Wall Street Journal:
The movie moves at such an agonizingly stately pace that by the end, side effects be damned, Henry's time-traveling gene starts to look mighty appealing.
Suspend your disbelief and you might find The Time Traveler's Wife a charming if mildly depressing fantasy. Or you might, as I did, travel elsewhere during it. Either way, at least it's a picturesque journey.
The problem isn't the timeline -- it's everything else.
The Time Traveler's Wife is told with a tenderness that's unusual in a major motion picture but that leads mostly to dullness.
Christian Science Monitor:
I'll let you in on a little secret that film critics have known for years. A major studio production, released in August with top-list stars, is almost certain to be a gobbler.
The fact that Bana is a bit of a cold fish and real sparks never really ignite between he and McAdams, who is 10 years his junior, doesn't help matters.
The Time Traveler's Wife is built as a game that the audience learns to play, and after a while, yes, we do get the hang of it.
Eric D. Snider,
Succinctly establishes the world it takes place in, then lets us experience, to some extent, the feelings and emotions that would naturally occur in such a world.
McAdams and Bana are enticing as a couple whose domestic problems are distinctly original.
The whole thing feels arbitrary. Henry and Clare's love is bedeviled not by anything they've done or have any control over, so the drama fails to build.
New York Daily News:
It's hard to live in stolen moments, but trying to find a few enjoyable ones in The Time Traveler's Wife is nearly impossible.
New York Post:
A Twilight Zone premise written like a Mariah Carey song, The Time Traveler's Wife is destined for a warm welcome on an obscure cable network. The Spinster Movie Station? The Lonely Hearts Channel?
New York Observer:
Maybe the novel by Audrey Niffenegger, which a number of people seem to have read and enjoyed, was more convincing, but the unsatisfactory, yo-yo script by Bruce Joel Rubin, makes no real effort to explore the inner emotions of the characters.
An elegy to love, fate, loss and free will, The Time Traveler's Wife is to science fiction what Twilight is to vampire tales -- a femme-centric exploration of relationships wrapped in genre fiction.
The book is richer, but this is a solid, endearing telling of the same essential story, and is well worth the price of admission for those who appreciate romantic fantasy.
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.
I'd watch the vibrant Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana in anything, but The Time Traveler's Wife is pushing it.
There's not much [McAdams] or Bana can do to rescue this dreary piece of romantic hooey.
San Francisco Chronicle:
It takes, as its subjects, the sadness and grandeur of life and the mystery of time, and it offers a full experience to those who find its wavelength.
Long spans of time pass between lines of dialogue, many of which seem to have been inexpertly translated from a foreign language so that they almost make sense but not quite.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
An uninspired alternative to comic book pandemonium and solemn family dramas, a gloppy serving of late summer corn.
Globe and Mail:
Romance is robbed of its gamble, stripped of its suspense, shorn of its mystery, and deprived of an ending that feels earned.
If you can get past the calendar gymnastics, The Time Traveler's Wife plays as an affecting allegory of love that persists even when the lover is gone.
For viewers aching for a romantic drama that leaves them emotionally, honorably exhausted, this could prove a total immersion in star-crossed love, if not perfect synchronicity.
That the actors can pull off such Oprah-friendly, sci-fi-inflected sap and keep straight faces is the most fantastic thing about this loopy love story.
The Time Traveler's Wife tries to transcend time and place, but it ultimately becomes bogged down in details.
This thoroughness may impress fans of the bestseller source novel, but will disappoint anyone looking for transport from a movie -- being a time traveler's wife, it turns out, is mostly a drag.
What makes The Time Traveler's Wife work as drama, and certainly better than it might have, is an unhesitating emotional commitment on the part of the actors.