One of the most brilliant romantic/fantasy epics to ever come out of the motion-picture industry, "Somewhere In Time" -- a 'go-between' movie for Christopher Reeve that he boldly decided to star in, right after his rise to fame in Richard Donner's "Superman" (1978) and his 'even-BIGGER' rise to fame in the much appreciated and sometimes reffered to as 'even better than the first one' -- "Superman II
" (1980) -- this enchanting tale about 'pre-destined destiny' truly has STOOD the test of time!
I once heard Christopher Reeve say right around the time he made this ... that he turned down two very important films of the early 1980s; "American Gigolo
" & "Body Heat" and opted for THIS one instead. And what a smart move THAT was! (Granted, "Gigolo" and "Body Heat" are both great movies ... but it's hard to imagine "Gigolo" without Richard Gere, much less "Body Heat" without William Hurt.)
Little did Christopher Reeve know however, that he wouldn't just be making a very fascinating and 'moving' film with a cleverly-crafted 'famous ending' along the same lines as "The Sixth Sense", he would be making a 'CLASSIC' "Gone-With-The-Wind"/"Titanic"-style masterpiece that would pretty much outshadow even his legendary SUPERMAN role due to its 'timeless' theme! -- A novelty that few films have which prevents them from ever becoming 'dated'.
And to think during its initial release in 1980, "Somewhere In Time", budgeted at a mere 5.1 million, was a bit of a bomb? WOW!
But then again, the great ones usually are. (BLADE RUNNER followed the same footsteps 2 years later in 1982 with a disappointing intake at the box-office ... yet over 'time', it became one of the greatest sci-fi thrillers ever made.)
"SOMEWHERE IN TIME" has had this same effect on critics and audiences all over the planet. If you don't own THIS one (or even its MILLION-seller SOUNDTRACK), your life just isn't complete!)
Trust me; This movie heavily inspired me to not only become an actor and composer of music, but to write an entire BOOK about the 1st 'latch-key' generation (MY generation) that grew up in the 1980s watching... what else? "SOMEWHERE IN TIME" -as well as just about every movie on this website.
Oh, and one other thing about this movie. After watching it, you'll never look at a 'penny' the same way, ever again!
Listen up, 'cause here's the review:
Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) is a fresh new Chicago playwrite in the 1970s who's just wrapped up his 1st-ever premiere, when lo and behold? A mysterious old woman who has been watching the play from afar the entire time, pops into the scene as all the fans are congratulating Mr. Collier on the sucess of his play, and she places her hands on Richard, saying only one thing: "Come back to me!" -- then she mysteriously leaves! But Richard, quite perplexed at this strange woman's actions, discovers that she left something behind for him to hold onto in his hands; a beautiful turn-of-the century pocket-watch! Thus begins the first and foremost metaphor of this film; TIME.
Flash forward a few years. Richard has now made it big ... but the pressure has gotten to him and to take a break from playwriting, he scurries off in his sports-car (after listening to his favorite song "Rhapsody On A Theme From Paganini" on his record player), driving and driving, then suddenly taking a left turn at a beautiful antique hotel near the coast; THE GRAND HOTEL on Mackinac Island, Michigan. (This hotel is now quite famous of course, boasting thousands of tourists a year, due to this movie!)
After Richard checks in, he decides to dine alone in the hotel lounge, only to find they're not open yet, so to 'kill time', he wanders through the hotel's historic mini-museum ... where after glancing here and there at interesting turn-of-the-century artifacts and photographs, he arrives at a big beautiful portrait of one of the best 'BOND-girls' to ever make it BIG; the lovely Jane Seymour in her breakout performance! (Her 'Bond' film was "Live And Let Die".)
Intrigued by the captivation in Jane's smile, Reeve goes to bed that night, not being able to sleep. For he can't get the portrait out of his mind! Back and forth, back and forth, he goes to the portrait. Not understanding why it holds such interest to him? So he decides to do some investigating and he asks the old hotel bell-man who this woman was? "Elise McKenna," the bell-man answers. "An actress who used to do plays here at the hotel during the turn of the century. But right around 1912, just as she was getting ready to hit it big, she vanished in the public eye, never to be heard from again." (paraquote)
As one can gather, Richard (Christopher Reeve in his best performance of all time) heads to the local library downtown, and after obtaining some old (and were talking OLD!) back-issues of stage-and-screen magazines, he finds pictures of this 'Elise McKenna' at her time of fame in 1912 ... but then Richard turns the page of another magazine, and gwalah! He turns white. For right before his very eyes, he sees a photograph of Elise, taken in her old age, right near the time of her death. And guess who it is? None other than the woman who gave Richard that beautiful brass pocket-watch, way back when!
Convinced this woman has something to do with his life, he tracks down her old assistant (played with grace by the always-beautiful Teresa Wright) and he pops in for a visit. At first, the assistant refuses him at the door, until Richard holds up the pocket-watch. Suddenly, the woman FREAKS OUT and lets him in, showing him some of Elise's old things, and telling him how much that watch "NEVER LEFT HER SIDE. WHERE DID YOU GET IT?" she begs.
"She gave it to me mam, on the opening night of a play several years ago." But suddenly Richard sees a book that he recognizes and he picks it up to brag a little. Telling the old woman that the book's author was one of his professors in college.
"She read that book over and over" the assistant tells him. And Richard turns the book over to its front side, to reveal its title "TRAVELS THROUGH TIME"! - a study of time travel! Again, he turns white. But he turns even whiter after he sees a miniature replica model of The Grand Hotel right beside him, only to discover that when its roof is lifted, it's a music-box... And guess what it just happens to play? Richard's favorite humming-song of all time; "Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini"! (You'll know the one, trust me. Bill Murray made it famous once more in the movie "Goundhog Day")
Back to The Grand Hotel it is, where Richard decides to beg the bellman for old 'guest registries'. Sure enough, after some darkness and dust in an old atic on the Grand Hotel property, Richard finds the guest registry book devoted to the year 1912 and he flips it open... and yes, there it is in authentic ink; his own signature; "RICHARD COLLIER"!
THUS begins the legacy of how truly 'thought out' "SOMEWHERE IN TIME" is! (You can thank its author Richard Mathison of 'The Incredible Shrinking Man', 'Stir Of Echoes', and 'Twilight Zone' fame for one great screenplay based off one great novel
that wasn't much of a hit during ITS initial time either; "Bid Time Return" - in which he published in 1975. It's now a best-seller
, thanks to this movie! Controversy surrounded it at time however because it was led to believe Mathison borrowed the story from one of his icon's books that had similiar content and was printed in the early 70s. See IMDB.com for more info.)
To continue on with the story, soon, Richard's off to his college professor, where he pumps the professor for info on 'time travel' and questions whether the professor really believes it can happen! "I was only there for a second," the professor says. "But you WERE THERE!" Christopher claims in question. "Yes," the professor replies. "I think I was. But I will never do it again, it left me exhausted, DRAINED. I'm not sure if I could handle that again." -- (paraquote).
But this is enough evidence for Richard, who picks up some turn-of-century clothes and 'pennies' at the local pawn and antique shops, where he then lies in his hotel bedroom, chanting over and over: "1912. You are now in 1912" -- a heavy dose of 'self-hypnosis' indeed that SOUNDS a little surreal... Yet, somehow, we (the audience) are so CAPTIVATED by this point, that, well? We'll believe ANYTHING! -- Just like RICHARD!
Soon, Richard wakes up from exhaustive dreams, only to open his bedroom door and find the Grand Hotel... As it was in 1912! (Look for a Richard Mathison cameo as Christopher bumps into him in the hallway).
After then searching the hotel grounds, Richard sees her; "Jane Seymour" standing with a look of 'deju vu' underneath a "Gone-With-The-Wind' tree near the coast."Is it you?" she says...
"Somewhere In Time", with its lush cinematography and exceptional directing by Jeannot Szwarc (the slow-mo ending MAKES the movie Jeannot!) is indeed a 5-STAR motion picture that no one saw coming except those who saw it and loved it. 20 years later however, it is now a legend because there's really nothing else you can compare it to. And its story-concept and captivating ending leaves you thinking about it, long after the credits have rolled.
It's hard to find any bad in this film, so I won't.
A great wedding-present for the Bride-and-Groom to be.
Somehow this one stays with you. As does it's music.Notice any mistakes? Review
No bad.Our rating:
9.5 out of 10Review Written by Joshua Crawford: Contact | More Reviews by Joshua Crawford