They say to know the present, one most know the past. History has a way of repeating itself. The Time Traveler’s Wife is getting a new version with this HBO Max series and if we’re going just by the first episode, this is an excellent adaptation for this time.
The first iteration was a 2009 film with Eric Bana as Henry, the time-hopping librarian, and Rachel McAdams as Clare. Loving the movie as we did, we were a little hesitant to start the series. But when you love a book as much as we love this one,. you’re all in for watching every moment and every iteration of this adaptation.
The Time Traveler’s Wife is perfection.
From the moment that you press play and Rose Leslie comes on your screen, you know that Clare has come to life in a brand new way, but one that you will find completely entrancing. And then there is Theo James as Henry. Sure, you’re asking, practically begging for him to get a haircut (doesn’t matter if it’s old or young Henry), but you’re like there is a softness to Henry that hasn’t been there.
And well, there is a lot of Theo‘s ass as they try to explain more and more about Henry traveling through time, what it’s like, how it happens. He travels through, naked. Now, though we can understand the concept behind that, we will also say that if a naked man falls out of the sky at us, we’re screaming and calling the cops.
But for Henry, this is normal. This traveling through time feels normal. It isn’t a super power. It’s just not being able to hang onto the current moment. Sometimes it’s 5 minutes and he’s back. Sometimes it’s days, weeks, month, and you have to survive. This has made him good at three things – running, fighting and stealing.
The first question that they are asked, in what looks like a documentary, is how they met. She’s married to a time traveler, it’s definitely complicated.
Clare needs to go to the library, for a specific book of Chaucer’s. She’s 20, fresh faced and idealistic, navigating her way through school. Henry is the librarian, all of 28, and for someone who can disappear at any moment, he’s optimistic, and man hauls ass going through the library.
But that leads him up to the information desk, where he comes face to face with Clare. He’s sent to help her, but it takes seconds before her eyes widen and she becomes a little confused and then realizes who she is looking at.
As the words roll off her tongue, you know that she’s happy to see him. She’s met him, but he doesn’t recognize her. After all this is the youngest that she’s ever seen him.
The two agree to meet up later that day for dinner. They’re both seeing it in different ways, but that’s not a bad thing. She wants to be around the man that she’s spent 14 years of her life knowing and him… he wants to know more about what she knows.
But it all becomes very overwhelming. She hands him a book of dates, 152 dates, where they see each other. As she explains it, and asks questions, Henry is becoming more and more overwhelmed. She wonders if this has ever happened to him before, meeting people out of order. It never has.
The questions she asks him and the things that she states are all overwhelming. He wants answers, but she doesn’t have all of them, because he’s never supplied her the answers. He snaps, but she quickly draws him back in. She lets him ask questions, but his first one she can’t answer yet.
He wants to know why her. Why did he keep going back to her? There had to have been a reason. Why would he go back to her so many times? She’s not ready to answer that one and says that they will have to come back to it. Next question.
HOW DID THEY MEET
Clare isn’t one to build up to things, because she drops a bomb on him really quick. It’s that she’s going to be his future wife. She knows this because at one point he visited her from a time that they were married. He says “congratulations” and she’s offended. She’s a better person that us because we would have slapped someone saying congratulations when we said that.
He’s taken a back. She gets that it is a lot and reminds him to ask questions. She’s definitely pushy about the questions.
But we can understand that, because she’s at this different place in their relationship and wants him to be there. She asserts herself so effortlessly and casually that you can just see these two together. She picks up on everything that he does.
And then he asks how they met. Seems simple enough, but it’s not. She clarifies for him – he means how was it for her.
She was young, playing in her place, when she hears someone getting sick. She’s a lot stronger than any of us because she’s not afraid. She thinks it’s her brother and she throws a shoe. Only it’s not her brother. It’s Henry.
He knows her name and she wants to know how it is that he knows her name. They haven’t met yet. She has no friends named Henry, but there is something about him that makes it easy to trust. So when he asks for clothes, she’s excited to do that. She runs back to the house and tells the family chef that she found an imaginary friend in the woods and is going to dress him up.
Clare seems care free and fearless. She doesn’t run from Henry when he’s dressed. She just keeps asking questions. Has he seen dinosaurs? What is the future like? He does everything that he can to answer her as safely as possible.
Clare trusts him. She doesn’t question the validity of his claims, she just agrees to help him. And she wants to know about time travel.
THE FIRST TIME
The first time that Henry time traveled, there was another person there to help him. He was seven and had the best day with his parents at the museum. He loved seeing everything and seeing the dinosaurs. He was so excited he asked his Mom if they could go back.
And when she leaves for him to go to sleep, he vanishes. He traveled back three hours to the museum. He thinks that it’s a dream, but it’s not.
And that person that is there to help him, to train him, is him. He’s travelled back 21 years to train himself. He wants to help make things easier for himself as he grows and continues to evolve his time travel.
He answers all of the questions that little Henry has, as bluntly as her can. Young Henry wants to know what time travelers do, like if they catch the bad guys. But Henry tells him that they are the bad guys that commit the crimes and he’s there to make sure that Henry is the baddest guy ever.
It’s a lot for a seven year old to take in. But soon, Young Henry is gone and old Henry is traveling back to the very night that we started this at. Dinner with Clare.
BTW – we never want to have to watch anyone throw vomit in someones face ever again.
The two go to Henry’s apartment, where he blindfolds her so that he can pick up. His apartment is a mess, a well lived in mess. There are books everywhere and trash and it’s definitely more of a frat boy place.
But she doesn’t care. Clare doesn’t care because she’s spent her whole life loving Henry. She’s entranced by everything that he does, because she’s been waiting her whole life. She’s loved him for as long as she can remember.
She tells him that this is not the apartment of a grown up, but for him, this is the most grown up he’s ever been. She wastes no time walking over to him and taking charge. She’s had years of her being a gentleman and now, that’s not what she’s going to settle for. She’s taking what she wants.
Henry is trying to explain so many things, but when she tries, he doesn’t want to hear it. He doesn’t want to know things he shouldn’t. But list of things he should have told her- he has a girlfriend. Because when she goes to the restroom, she finds a robe and a bra.
And she’s pissed.
He has a girlfriend, one she didn’t know about. He didn’t tell her, because he wanted to have sex with her. Clare has a habit of throwing a shoe at him and this time is no different. Not that we’re condoning violence, but we get it. Henry is like I’ve never seen you before in my life and you’re saying you’re gonna be my wife, doesn’t that sound a tiny bit mad? She throws a shoe and is like so you’re happy to fuck crazy women. He said it would limit his options if he wasn’t.
Look Henry, some shit should not be vocalized. Keep it in your head.
36 MEET 28
The version of Henry that was with younger Clare travels back and is at the moment where Clare is storming out. He’s watching younger him make a mistake, and trying to fix it.
Clare is hot headed, which we can understand. The fact that we don’t hate her, that we’re still rooting for her, that we’re on her side, makes us realize just how amazing that Rose Leslie is as Clare. She’s soft and kind and yet a force of nature. Leslie plays a character that most people would think is mad, with such ease that you can’t help but go, yes, we want to see her win.
She storms off to a bar and finds a place to sit, when 36 year old Henry walks up on her. She’s ready to revolt, to be so mad, but there’s a big difference between 36 year old Henry and 28 year old Henry. 36 year old Henry is even tempered and calm.
36 year old Henry tries to get her to see that the him that she just was with, is scared. He doesn’t articulate it well. She’s like he’s an asshole. She doesn’t find it fair that older her gets him, while she has to deal with this asshole But Clare doesn’t get that the force of nature that changed him was her. She doesn’t see yet, but we all have an effect and change people, as well as ourselves when we fall in love.
Clare wants to know how he gets to be you, the Henry that is soft and kind and the one that she loves. Does he get hit by a meteorite? He says yes, a meteorite named Clare.
And he’s not wrong.
This show is a slice of angst, wrapped up with action and passion and handed to you on a silver platter of romance and sentimentality. And we love that.
The Time Traveler’s Wife is streaming now on HBO.
- 36 year old Henry telling younger him to get his shit together is interesting. Why Henry is so defensive and hates himself at other ages, I don’t get.
- The actress that plays young Clare is amazing
- I don’t think I have ever seen so much of one persons ass in an episode of TV
- If anyone throws vomit again, I am gonna vomit
- Henry finding his feet and only his feet… well, that was something I didn’t see coming.
- Young Henry is adorable.
- Loved this advice – An older man once told Henry that you have two things to do with your time on this earth. One find the love of your life. Two die as slowly as possible.