- Movie Rating -

Somewhere in Time (1980)

| October 3, 1980

I want to love Somewhere in Time, but I come away with mixed feelings.  This is a fantasy romance that spends way too much time setting up the fantasy and not enough time on the romance.  That’s too bad because the romance itself is really quite wonderful.

Christopher Reeve takes leave of Superman to play the very flawed playwright Richard Collier who, in 1972, is approached on the eve of his first real triumph by an elderly woman who begs him “Come back to me” and leaves him with a very old watch containing the photo of a beautiful young woman.  Years later, he comes across a photo of that same woman in a hotel who it seems was an actress named Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour) back at the turn of the century and performed at this very hotel (what are the odds?)  Collier becomes obsessed with this woman, and further obsessed with meeting this woman.

Up to this point, the movie is pretty solid.  Men obsessing over women of the past is nothing new – Laura is one of my favorite films.  The difference is that Somewhere in Time spends a lot of time trying to get the 1979 Richard Collier to rewind the clock back to 1912 and that’s where the plot gets overstuffed with a lot of set-up.  There’s a professor who has a theory on time travel.  There are scenes of Richard studying those theories.  There are scenes of Richard buying vintage clothes.  There are scenes of Richard hypnotizing himself to test the professor’s theory.  All of this stuff takes up most of the movie.

That’s unfortunate because it means that when Richard finally gets to 1912, the romance is kind of given short shrift.  The movie has very little time (so to speak) to really develop the relationship between Richard and Elise the earlier scenes seem to promise.  We want more time with them.  We like them and we feel their bond.

This is a flawed movie but not a worthless movie.  I was very moved by the relationship, short as it was, and I was also deeply moved by John Barry’s beautiful score (I could imagine a couple dancing to that at their wedding).  I guess I just wanted more of the romance and less of the set-up.  Here is a potentially great movie waiting to bust out.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1980) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized