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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Though parts of the film are quite gloomy, there’s an overall sense that life is full of meaning and love. Clare adores Henry as he is and not as she imagines him to be, which is admirable.
Positive Role Models
Clare and Henry are devoted to each other, despite the huge challenges they face. They do quarrel and pull away from each other at times, but inevitably, love wins out. Henry commits some petty crimes (stealing, breaking and entering, cheating) out of necessity due to his condition -- he doesn't shy away from doing these things, but it's clear that he wishes he didn't have to. You could argue that Henry manipulates Clare's life unfairly, but for the most part she doesn't seem to mind.
Violence & Scariness
Early in the movie, there are some perilous/fiery scenes of an intense car accident. There's also some fistfighting (with some injuries), and a man is shot and is shown bleeding. Characters hunt with rifles. A woman bleeds heavily during a miscarriage. A man gets slapped after speaking harshly to a woman.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple gets in bed a few times and is shown passionately kissing and caressing each other; they later appear below the sheets with their shoulders bared -- when she gets out of bed, you see her naked from the rear (including buttocks). Several shots of Henry naked from behind/sideways, but the only sensitive body part shown is his buttocks. One scene shows Clare in the bath, but only her stomach and extremities are visible.
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Language includes "s--t" (several times, often as a reaction to seeing Henry disappear for the first time...), "a--hole," "damn," "hell," "goddamn," "son of a bitch," and "oh my God."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Two characters are chided for drinking too much, though both seem to recover/give it up. Some social drinking (wine, beer, etc.) by adults.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this tearjerker, though romantic, may prove too gloomy for tweens and younger teens. The central couple shares a powerful love, but their relationship is constantly tested, sometimes to the breaking point, and there are few moments of levity. Expect some nudity (though primarily in a non-sexual context), swearing ("s--t" is the strongest word used), and a few bloody, though not gory, scenes. There's also discussion of heavy topics like free will, miscarriage, death, and losing a parent. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
For a film about the metaphysical, THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE is curiously lacking in energy. It starts out far too explanatory, like a wannabe friend who overshares. While it's true that the audience needs prodding given the material -- how to make time travel approachable? -- it nevertheless seems questionable to keep inserting explanations that have been heard before. (For instance, why Henry keeps stealing clothes wherever he turns up.)
The time-travel jump cuts make the film all the more befuddling, and although Henry's supposed to morph in age from one time period to the next, all that ever seems to change is how many wrinkles he sports and how gray his hair gets. It's not until midway through the movie, when questions about Henry's genetic makeup arise, that the film begins to really transport you -- and, by the end, it does get very emotional. (How can it not, given the heavy tugging? After all, the melancholic piano is cued at every tragic turn.) But still, somehow the end result is more tepid than tearjerking.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.