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The Time Traveler's Wife

Time Traveler's Wife title card

Year - 2009
Studio - New Line Cinema
Stars - Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, Ron Livingston, Jane McLean, Brooklynn Proulx, Stephen Tobolowsky
Director - Robert Schwentke
Writing Credits - Bruce Joel Rubin (screenplay), Audrey Niffenegger (novel)
Music - Mychael Danna


Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) suffers from an unusual genetic disorder - at random intervals and without warning, he travels through time to other points in his life, past or future. In his travels, he arrives without clothes, so he must first obtain clothing, usually by stealing.

Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams) has been in love with Henry her entire life because he came to her when she was a little girl and told her his story, without revealing the fact that they would fall in love and marry later in life.

We observe their relationship at different stages of Henry's life. Clare finds him working as a Chicago librarian, but he does not recognize her, as they have never "met" in his current time. She tells Henry that he had warned her of this eventuality, and that she has always loved him. They marry and live happily, despite Henry's frequent disappearances in time for periods of hours, days or weeks.

Time Travelers Wife poster

One evening, while socializing with their friends Charisse (Jane McLean) and Gomez (Ron Livingston), they are shocked by the image of Henry writhing naked on the floor, covered in blood, suggesting that his ultimate future is to die a violent death.

Clare becomes pregnant but suffers an early stage miscarriage. This is repeated several times until Henry, wanting to spare Clare the sorrow, gets a vasectomy. Clare is angry with him, but when they make love during a visit at an age prior to the vasectomy, she again is pregnant. On one of his trips to the future, a young girl recognizes Henry as her father; she is Alba (Hailey McCann - ages 9 & 10, Tatum McCann - ages 4 & 5) and she has inherited her father's time travelling abilities. Clare is ecstatic to hear that their baby will be born.

The family learns to cope with the frequent disappearances and appearances of both Henry and Alba, and the daughter is even visited by her future self. But Alba learns from her that her father will die when she is five years old. On one of his travels, Henry finds himself in the woods next to a deer. A shot is fired from a hunter, Clare's father, and he, mortally wounded, returns to his home, surrounded by his family and friends. But, his death does not prevent his younger selves from continuing to return briefly to Clare and Alba.

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The concept of time travel taking place without clothing is also portrayed, in a comedic way, in Naken. Similarly, the question might be asked, "Why do ghosts wear clothing?".

The Time Traveler's Wife was scripted by Bruce Joel Rubin, who also wrote the classic film blanc, Ghost.