This is a love story with a twist! Clare Abshire (McAdams) is in love with Henry DeTamble – she feels like she has known him all her life! And she has! (but how, I hear you ask?). Well, simply put, Henry is a time-traveller.
He can’t control when he travels nor can he take his clothes with him – which results in him appearing wherever he travels to – completely naked. Sounds funny doesn’t it – but not once does the film even dwell on it in a funny way or otherwise. Henry always has to steal clothes, frequently break into houses and steal wallets, as a result. He is a headache for whatever police officer arrests him because soon after he is arrested he disappears again.
The constant disappearing act places an unusual strain on his relationship with Clare (yes, she’s all grown up now!). They eventually marry as you expect them to from the get go. However, even their special day can’t keep Henry in one place for long and he disappears minutes before the ceremony. Luckily, Henry is too much of a gentleman and his future self steps in for the ceremony. In an effort to counteract his genetic disorder, he attempts to see a genetics expert Dr. Kendrick (Tobolowsky) who offers no solution.
This film has been adapted from a best selling novel by Audrey Niffenegger by the screenplay writer, Bruce Joel Rubin, who gave us the classic Ghost. Along with a partnership with Flightplan director Robert Schwentke, the final product is a bittersweet love story with absurd science fiction notions that don’t quite make sense. For example, a grown up Clare encounters Henry at her university library but he has no recollection of her – because he has not met her yet (confusing!). I have yet to read the novel and can offer no comparisons, but many say the film does not quite have the beauty of the novel captured on screen.
If you are willing to suspend disbelief and ignore glaring plot holes and inconsistencies then what you are left with is a beautiful sad love story with amazing cinematography (thanks to Florian Ballhaus) and makes for an interesting ride despite a very silly and convoluted plot.