Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

*** spoiler alert ***

After watching and enjoying The Time Traveler's Wife, I was hit by some thoughts about the plot. The movie is about a woman whose husband travels through time, which leads to him unexpectedly disappearing at random times when his "chrono-impaired" body takes him somewhere else. Her subsequent abandonment could be seen as a metaphor for a wife who has chosen to stay home with the family. A wife must stay at home while her husband goes out of the house, perhaps not always at unexpected times but certainly leaving her from time to time --- and it's out of both of their control. The fact that the daughter can time travel too does not relieve this metaphor, but rather details it: children leave us just as our husbands do, from time to time, and eventually forever. The woman has no choice but to stay at home and wait for their return.

That's all.

2 comments:

Micah-G said...

This issue is directly addressed in the movie when he disappears for 2 weeks. When he shows up, she says she needs to go do her art show because she can't just wait around for him to come back and not move on with her own life. I got the sense in the movie that somehow they did find an amicable balance so that she wasn't stuck at home by herself all of the time.

But, if anything, I would say that the movie is much more about accepting a spouse with a disability than accepting a spouse who ditches you for work all of the time. His time travel is a permanent problem for him for which he seeks medical help - and they know that the condition will eventually lead to his death - but she accepts him anyway. To say that it's like a husband who chooses work over supporting his wife in the home seems an unfair assessment. The feminist lens can be very useful, but I think that in this case it is misapplied to a story that is really intended to be about disability.

Naomi said...

I wasn't thinking about it that way, but I like your disability analysis. However, I think my original theory holds water when you think of men as HAVING to work, that work is not a choice for them any more than staying at home once the kid is born for us. He's not choosing work, he's stuck with it, just as the character here is stuck with his condition that takes him away from his wife.