And I put off seeing it.
I'm sure you can guess why. I had built it up so much in my mind, fretted over how Niffenegger's melodic prose would fall through the cinematic cracks of a screenplay written by someone else, wondered if Eric Bana was the right man to play Henry because he looked nothing like my Henry. I wondered which pieces the writer and director would butcher in order to package it into a story experience that lasted no longer than the time it took to devour a large popcorn, extra butter. I was convinced I would be disappointed, so I waited through a mourning period of theater release until I could view it at home in the same chair I'd consumed the book all those months ago.
Bottom Line: I had sabotaged it from the beginning.
Brad Pitt, the actor tied to it at the movie's inception, would have come closer to my Henry. The at-times clunky dialogue would never have wormed its way into Niffenegger's prose. Because of those time constraints, we were only privy to Claire's fully-realized life through the lens of Henry's scenes and the moments that advanced the love story. The story of The Time Traveler's Wife became The Time Traveler's Love Affair and her character became all but lost. The tears I shed at the book's end were nowhere to be found amidst the sweeping cinematic music meant to evoke some cathartic emotion I didn't feel because I hadn't re-visited the depth and scope of their relationship together. In the book, Claire has moments where she wrestles with fidelity to a lover she doesn't see for years at a time. We witness her grow into a woman, not exclusively in Henry's shadow, but through her art and other relationships. In the movie, all we see is Clare's unyielding adoration from age six. Passionate? Yes. Deep Tragedy of Struggling Lovers? Not so much.
So in the end, this experiment proved nothing more than that which we avid readers already know: the book is almost always better.
Did you see TTTW? How did it compare, in your mind, to the book? Can you think of any movies that were better than the book?