Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.
After seeing this personal ad run several times in the magazine he works for, Seattle Magazine, Jeff (Jake Johnson from The New Girl) pitches investigating the person who is running the ad. The editor agrees and allows him to bring two interns with him, Darius (Aubry Plaza, Parks and Recreation) and Arnau (Karan Soni) to Ocean View, Washington to track down the potential time-traveler, Kenneth (Mark Duplass).
Darius quickly takes over the investigation, building a bond with Kenneth, despite her early skepticism. Plaza plays Darius so exquisitely that you begin to see Kenneth through her eyes. Quick to roll her eyes or let out an exasperated sigh on Parks and Recreation, she uses subtlety in her facial expressions in this movie that one might not expect. The story is dark, funny, and smart, and the actors all feel fluid and natural, despite their characters being thrust into odd situations.
Fans of Jeff Who Lives at Home, Win Win, Crazy Stupid Love, and Silver Linings Playbook will want to pick up this quirky story about regret and love.
For this installment of Book vs. DVD, I did something a little different. Instead of reading a book, I listened to an audiobook. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger tells the story of a man who is, as Kurt Vonnegut so elegantly put once, “unstuck in time.” Since the age of 9, Henry DeTamble regularly found himself naked in an unfamiliar place and time, visiting strangers, his loved ones, and occasionally himself, several years in the past or future. When Henry is 28 and working as a librarian in Chicago, he meets Clare Abshire, a beautiful woman who tells him that they’ve met before, despite Henry not remembering. As a man, Henry has time traveled to Clare’s childhood, and it is there that she first met him. The book contains chapters alternately told by Henry and Clare detailing their stages of courtship and married life, including their attempts to find a cure for Henry’s condition and trying to have a baby. This beautiful and at times heartbreaking story is well-told by audiobook readers William Hope and Laurel Lefkow, who evoke such emotion into their telling of the story that it’s hard not to feel like a part of Henry and Clare’s story.
The movie version of The Time Traveler’s Wife follows fairly closely with the storyline of the book. Henry and Clare are played by Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, respectively, and both were very close to what I imagined when listening to the audiobook. The two have beautiful chemistry that feels very true to Henry and Clare’s relationship in the book. The only changes that are made to the story are certain scenes from the book being shortened or completely cut out. This isn’t surprising, as the book is rather lengthy and a film true to that would have been several hours long.
After trying out both the book and the DVD, I have to say that I was left a little disappointed by the movie. Though it is well-acted and the story is incredibly romantic to see unfold before your eyes, something just feels missing once you’ve read the book. Parts of Clare and Henry’s story are left out or rushed over, and I was left longing for them. I would highly recommend that anyone who wants to watch the movie check out the audiobook or the book version of The Time Traveler’s Wife first, because it helps to fill in those little details that you might be confused without. But of course, no movie can be a perfect adaptation of a book, and I felt that this one did a fairly decent job.
Audrey Niffenegger’s Time Traveler’s Wife will be released as a movie starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana on August 14th. This combines two excellent genres – novels featuring librarians and time travel. (There can never be enough stories about “hip, handsome” librarians). Henry works for the Newberry library in Chicago and involuntarily pops up in his own past and future.
Add to this, time travel as an “impossible romantic trap” and you have box office magic. Consider the romantic traps inherent in movies such as Somewhere in Time, The Lake House and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. When your lover is aging at a different rate or is in a different time zone, so to speak, it makes for a relationship complication.
So, here’s your chance to expand your travel choices – really expand them. Outside our time/space continuum.
What if you had the chance to live your life over? Would you make the same choices? Marry the same person? Work the same job? How different would your life be now, and where would you be? These intriguing questions are at the center of Allison Winn Scotch’s Time of My Life when Jillian Westfield gets the chance to re-live part of her past.
Mired in an unhappy marriage, feeling trapped by her “perfect Mommy” image, Jillian finds herself dreaming of her former boyfriend and how different he was than her husband. While life with Henry was steady and reliable, life with Jackson had been exciting and fast-paced, and her career had begun to take off. She begins to believe that if she had stayed with Jackson everything would be glamorous and fun.
One morning Jillian wakes up seven years in the past, before she left Jackson, before she married Henry, before her daughter was born. Now armed with 20/20 hindsight, she aims to get things “right’ this time. But it’s not as simple as she thought – the absence of her daughter is a sharp, constant ache, the fast-paced job isn’t as alluring as she’d remembered and fond memories of Henry keep returning. There are poignant moments too, such as when she sees her friend Meg who, in her former world, would die is a couple years, and when she runs into the current Henry and realizes she’s still in love with him. Can she change the course of her life and the lives of those she loves? What might appear to be a simple chick lit is in fact a thoughtful look at choices and consequences and living the life you’re given.