The movie opens with a woman singing while driving with her young son in the backseat. It's dark and snowing out, and it's Christmas Eve. The young boy in the backseat is 5 years old, and tells his mother that she has a beautiful voice. It's pretty clear that the boy (Henry
) and his mother love each other very much.
Suddenly, a car in front of them skids out of control, which sends young Henry
and his mother's car spinning out of control. Henry
freaks out, and suddenly starts to disappear. The mother is staring at him in disbelief and in the windshield we can see a truck about to slam into their car head on.
is now naked and standing in his house, watching himself, his mother and his father read a book on the couch together. Henry
is scared and has no idea what is going on. A second later, he disappears again and is back at the seen of the car accident, standing naked on the side of the road. Suddenly, a man appears, puts a blanket around him and explains the situation. The man says that he is Henry
as an adult, and they are time travelers. His mother was killed in the accident. He is too young to understand what is going on now, but he will one day. The older Henry
We then see the older Henry
appear naked in the library he works at. He gets up, puts his clothes on, grabs some books and brings them to a patron at the library. The patron says "that took long enough" to which Henry
replies, "you have no idea".
We then see the day to day going ons in Henry
's life: He is a time traveler, he has no control over when or why he travels. He drinks a lot and is living a pretty messy life. When he travels, he is naked when he arrives so he must pick locks, steal clothes and money just to survive. His father is withdrawn and was once a violinist at the Chicago Symphony, but can no longer play because of his drinking. Both Henry
and his father have clearly never gotten over the death of Henry
Back at the library, Claire Abshire (Rachel McAdams) is looking for a book. The librarian says to her "Perhaps Mr. DeTamble can help you". Claire is in disbelief. She looks at Henry
and says "it's you!". It's very obvious Henry
has never seen her before in his life, but they agree to meet at a local restaurant.
At the restaurant, Claire tells Henry
about how she has known him all her life, that he has visited her since she was a little girl. She says that he visited her a lot, but she has never seen him this young (Henry
is about 28 years old at this time). He explains that certain places he visits a lot because big events pull him in, like gravity. Claire says "I was a big event".
Back at his apartment, she pretty much throws himself at him. As they are kissing on the couch, Henry
wants to know how they first met. Flashback to Claire at age 6, at the meadow at her parents house. Henry
is about 35 years old, naked in the woods, and asking to borrow her blanket so he can cover himself. He explains to a very young Claire that he is a time traveler, and that he knows her in the future when she is older. She doesn't believe him until he disappears before her eyes. Before he goes, he tells her that he will be back next Tuesday, and she should bring clothes for him. From this point on, Claire always leaves clothes for Henry
in the woods.
Back in present day, you see their relationship unfold. Henry
loves Claire, and Claire is happy to be with Henry
, but she only had known the older, more put together Henry
from her childhood, and this Henry
is 28 years old and has his faults. But they love each other. He meets her friends Charisse and Gomez.
Gomez learns that Henry
is a time traveler by witnessing it firsthand. He thinks Claire should walk away from the relationship, but Claire can't because as she states "She has been in love with him her whole life".
travels back to a time before his mom died and runs into her on the subway. He speaks with her, and says that he is a huge fan of her singing, and that he wishes his girlfriend could hear her sing. They make small talk, she says she has a 3 year old son named Henry. Before he gets off the trains, she tells him to make sure his girlfriend knows he loves her. He then tells her "your son loves you very much". She says "I know".
proposes to Claire using his mothers engagement ring. Henry
meets Claire's family before the wedding, and learns that her father is a hunter. At the wedding, Gomez is the best man. Before the wedding, Henry
disappears, leaving Gomez frantic as to what to do since there is no groom. Suddenly, a much older Henry
arrives and puts on the tux. At the alter, Claire is surprised to see that she is marring a future version of Henry
, but they laugh it off. At the reception, present day Henry
arrives in time for their first dance. He asks Claire if she is disappointed that she is not married to future Henry
, and she points out that she is married to him, he's just not here yet. That night, as the new bride and groom are jumping on the bed, Henry
disappears again. He arrives at the meadow with a very young Claire who asks him if he is married. Henry
doesn't like to tell people about their future, so while he tells Claire that he is indeed married, he doesn't explain that he is married to her. The young Claire is upset that he has a wife. Henry
then disappears and is back in bed with his new wife Claire, and they both laugh about a young Claire being jealous of herself.
We then see the couple move into their apartment in Chicago, and living the life of a young married couple. However, Henry
time travels and sometimes leaves his wife for days/weeks at a time. Whenever he is gone, she has no idea when he'll be back. She is getting more and more upset by this. They have an argument after he misses Christmas and New Year's, she says she is stressed because he's never there, their apartment is too small to work in (she is an artist) and she is stressed about her new art show. She goes to work angry.
Later that night, he meets her at the art studio (Claire is an artist). He tells her to come with him before "they miss it." He brings her to a TV store and they watch the lottery drawing. He knows all the numbers as they are being called. They have just won 5 million dollars. Henry
says "There are a lot of downsides of traveling, but their can be some upsides too". They now have money to buy a big house with a studio for Claire to work in.
At their new house, they have Gomez and a pregnant Charisse over for dinner. As they are making dinner, they hear a loud noise in the living room. They all run in to see a bleeding, gasping for breath future Henry on their living room floor. He then disappears. All of them are in shock, and present day Henry
just walks away.
Later, Claire and Henry
are discussing what happened. She is worried because in all her life, she has never seen Henry
older than about 40. She is worried it is because he died, but has hope that maybe it's because he found a cure for his traveling. She then reveals that she is pregnant.
finds a geneticist that will try to help him with his problem. The geneticist (Dr. Kendrick) has discovered that it's a chromosome mutation, and it's genetic, which means his offspring will most likely have this problem too. Claire has already had three miscarriages because the fetuses are "traveling" out of the womb. The miscarriages are taking a toll on Claire and Henry
, who argue everyday. Claire wants one normal thing in her life, and that is to be a mother. Henry
doesn't want to put Claire through the stress of another miscarriage, and he also doesn't want a child to have to go through what he goes through, time traveling without warning, being placed in possible dangerous situations. He has a vasectomy without telling Claire, and after it's done he is upset which causes him to travel.
He ends up in the meadow with 18 year old Claire. She can tell he's upset and he tells her that he did something he had to do, but she won't like it. He won't tell her that he had a vasectomy, and he instead angrily tells her that she is too young to understand anything yet. She slaps him, and he in turn kisses her hard. It's upsetting to her, because they have never kissed and their first kiss was angry. He then kisses her very lovingly, disappears and ends up in present day at home.
In Claire's art studio, he tells Claire about the vasectomy. She is very upset. She wants children, and she is mad that he led on an 18 year old Claire in the meadow.
Later that night, Henry
is sleeping on the couch. Claire's cell phone rings, and it's a young Henry calling. It's January, and he is in a parking garage in Chicago and needs help. She goes to pick him up. When he gets in the car, she talks to him about being upset with the future version of him. She then kisses him and they make love in the car.
The next day she tells present day Henry
what happened. She explains that she didn't cheat on him because, well, it's him. Later on, we discover that Claire is pregnant. While trying to pick out a name for their future daughter, Henry
travels. He ends up at museum, and while walking out a little girl yells "Daddy!" Henry
turns, and a 10 year old girl is hugging him. She says her name is Alba and she misses him. Alba also has the ability to time travel, but for some reason she can control it. She also tells him that he died when she was five years old. Henry
is upset by this, but back in present day he only tells Claire that he met their daughter, she is beautiful and smart and they name her Alba.
You then see Alba being born and a montage of the next five years. As they are getting ready for Alba's fifth birthday, you can see Henry
is upset. Later on Henry
travels and is gone for a while. When he gets back, he is suffering from hypothermia and loses a leg. Claire tells Dr. Kendrick that if Henry
can't run, he can't help himself when he travels and he could die. An older version of Alba visits, and tells present day Alba that her father will die when she is five. An upset Alba tells Claire, who doesn't know what to think.
's travels, he finds out that he will die on New Years Eve. When New Years Eve arrives, Claire and Henry
throw a party. Claire has no idea that Henry
will die tonight, but Henry
is taking everything in. He says goodbye to Gomez, and thanks him for being a great friend. He then asks to speak with Claire outside. She sits in his lap with a blanket around them, and he starts saying his goodbyes. She say "No!" and wants to know why he invited everyone over, and he replies that he didn't want her to be alone. She tells him that she wouldn't change one second of their life together, and they are both crying. He kisses her, and as they kiss it's midnight and there are fireworks. Henry
wakes up in the snow in the woods next to the meadow. It's very early in the morning, almost sunrise. There is a deer next to him. As he watches the deer, he hears a voice in the woods, then a gunshot. Henry
screams in pain and disappears. You can then see Claire's father and brother, who were out hunting, arriving at the spot where Henry
was, which is now just blood covered snow. They assume they clipped a deer.
Back at present day, the New Years Eve party is going on when Henry
arrives naked and dying of a gunshot wound on the floor. Claire runs to him and they both are saying "I love you" when Henry
Claire is next seen lying in her bed, depressed, with her daughter. She is very shaken by the death of Henry.
Later on, in the meadow, a 9 year old Alba is playing with Gomez and Charisse's kids when Henry
comes walking out of the woods. Alba is thrilled to see her father, it's been 4 years. Gomez's kids run to the house to get Claire while Henry
and Alba talk. As Henry
tells Alba the story of how he met her mother, you can see Claire running through the woods. When Henry
sees Claire, they run to each other and embrace. Claire is thrilled. She asks why he didn't say he'd be here, and he tells her he doesn't want her to spend his life waiting for him. Claire is crying, telling him that she loves him and will always love him. Henry
and Claire kiss, and Henry
disappears once more. Claire picks up and folds his clothes, and Claire and Alba then leave the meadow together.
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