Review – Somewhere In Time (1980)


This delightful movie, which i have loved since the first time i watched it many years ago, opens with college student Richard Collier, played by the brilliant, and vastly underrated Christopher Reeve, gathering rave reviews for his debut play. At the after party, he comes face to face with an old lady who presses something in his hand and gently whispers “Come back to me.” He opens his hand to find he’s been given a very old pocket watch.

Fast forward eight years, and Collier is a very successful playwright, now in the midst of a relationship break up. He also has a bad case of writer’s block.

He decides to leave Chicago for a while to think things out, and after driving around for a while, finds himself, on the outskirts of the city, at the Grand Hotel. While wandering around this beautiful old building, he discovers the hotel has it’s own theater and a small theater based museum, within the grounds.

It’s here that he sees a photograph of a beautiful young woman. Richard is entranced, and attempts to find out whatever he can about her. During the course of his research, he discovers her name, Elise McKenna. She was a famous actress, from the turn of the century, who appeared in a play, in the hotel theater in 1912. He also discovers, she was the mysterious old woman who, eight years previously, had given him the pocket watch, and that she had quietly passed away that very night, at home, after the party.

Finally determining that he must meet her somehow, he employs self-hypnosis and wills himself back to 1912. He meets Elise, played beautifully by Jane Seymour, and they fall in love, which does not make her manager, William Fawcett Robinson, played spikily by Christopher Plummer, rather happy. Will their love survive Robinson’s disapproval? Will Richard be able to remain in 1912?

Being one who always seems to enjoy time-travel stories, it’s no wonder I love this movie so much, but it isn’t the interesting “time travel” angle that drew me in, it’s also the fact that this is one of the most touching love stories I’ve ever seen. I’m not usually a big fan of romantic movies, but this one truly moved me.

It’s also nice to see Christopher Reeve in a welcome departure from the cape, but as brilliant as he is, it’s Jane Seymour who is the twinkling gem in this crown. She is every bit as beautiful as we’re led to believe (and not just in the portrait). Her radiance lights up the screen, and the reveal of “that” photograph is just startling.

Christopher Reeve’s boyish good looks, and Jane Seymour’s beauty, have never been seen to better advantage. ‘Somewhere in Time’ is a haunting film that lingers in the memory long after you’ve seen it, and that, to me, is the hallmark of a fine film.

It’s a wonderful, old-fashioned story with a really nice feel for the period (1912) and is simply a pleasant, leisurely-paced story I found comfortable, and a joy to watch. I also have to mention John Barry’s score which, instantly transports you back to a gentler, more serene time, and is just wonderful.

Would kids of today like this? Probably not. Too slow for them i’d imagine. Too bad, because I found the movie moved well paced and just gorgeous to look at. The 100 minutes running time flew by. If like me, you love a good time travel drama with a really nice love story thrown in for good measure, you could do alot worse than watch Somewhere In Time. Slip into your “comfies”, grab a hot chocolate and a biscuit, then lose yourself in this wonderful movie. You absolutely will not regret it……

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I am passionate about movies and cinema generally. I love talking about them and writing about them.

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4 Responses

  1. Joe Granby says:

    Beautifully shot drama. Reeves is pretty great in this. Yeah, obviously he had to be paid double because of the obvious trauma from working next to the troglodyte looking Jane Seymour! ? Wonderful film, saw it years ago on TV.

    • retromovie says:

      Joe you always make me smile. Yeah must have been a real wrench having to work alongside Jane “Trog” Seymour. Lol. She never looked more beautiful than she was in this glorious delight of a film. A total picture of elegance and class. I don’t think either she or Chris Reeve were ever better than in this lovely film. Perfect rainy Sundsy afternoon viewing. I suspect its the same for you….

  2. Guy Jessop-Braithwaite says:

    Lovely review mate, which has made me want to see this film. I guess that’s the point eh? I shall try and get hold of a copy and check it out.

    • retromovie says:

      Thanks Guy. Its a real guilty pleasure for me even though I’m sure it was you who told me there’s no such thing. If you like something you like it and there’s no need to feel guilty about it. This is just a wonderful, completely harmless, cup of tea and a bicky type movie, that you can just immerse yourself in, and it draws you in from that opening scene. One thing that sticks with me is the scene in the library where he recognises the old lady’s photo in an old magazine and it all starts to make sense. Coupled with that wonderful soundtrack, just glorious stuff. You won’t regret watching it Guy.

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