Reminiscing can do all kinds of weird and wonderful things, and when selling the merits of this much loved movie to my better half, the fog of nostalgia convinced me and in turn her, to take in a re-watch many years after my last viewing of what I once regarded as a gem.
Years between views haven’t totally diminished its appeal, but time hasn’t been too kind to it either.
Unfortunately, somewhere between now and 1980, Somewhere In Time got old. It’s now TV movie feel and hammy acting hasn’t made its production longevity eternal, though it’s heart and fascinating time travel premise is still, well…timeless; a love story for the ages – eternal indeed.
Between Supermans, Christopher Reeve’s playwright is the amateur time traveller, instantly infatuated with a legendary play actress he glances upon in a hotel museum; it’s Jane Seymour – frankly, who wouldn’t be besotted. Eight years earlier, a frail old lady gifts him a golden pocket watch to start to interlace Somewhere In Time’s compelling sci-fi premise.
Based on Sci-fi legend Richard Matheson’s own novel and his adapted screenplay, the man most known for I am Legend and a preeminent Twilight Zone collaborator, the ability to time travel through hypnosis with fundamental theories of causality and replication is brilliant, an original and simplistic premise that serves to uncomplicatedly send the not so Man of Steel here, back to 1912 to look too often clumsily, woo Miss Seymour.
Reeve’s performance is pure Clark Kent, gawky and harmlessly bullish, innocently charming in much the same way as the movie. His initial bludgeoning attempts to win her over is borderline stalking, but a somewhat underdeveloped sub plot of fate and an instinctive knowing that Reeve’s is “the one she has been waiting for” serves to excuse, perhaps tenuously, the acceptance of a strange man’s out-of-time infatuation.
Opposed to Reeve’s advances is Christopher Plummer’s protector and confidant, the formulaic protestor to eternal love, protecting his vision of a triumphant future for his innocent artiste. Plummer’s prophesising ability, again seemingly cognisant of Reeve’s arrival, goes once more unexplained.
But it’s often so uncomplicated that it doesn’t need explanation, Somewhere In Time is a simple tale of love and fate with effective enough performances throughout that may not win any awards but is lovingly and respectfully played by all.
Vaseline lensed, soft focus direction from predominant TV director Jeannot Szwarc lays on the stylistic love giving it all a hazy dreamlike feel but it’s still beautiful and Oscar nominated costume design provides a convincing and sumptuous period feel. Reeve’s garish suit is truly remarkable though.
The beautiful score layers on thick schmaltz but its hard not to still be in love with Somewhere In Time, and it can never be a bad thing to watch the late, great Christopher Reeve.
Nostalgia for a long loved film may gain it more present day credit than the sum of its parts deserve but it remains much better than many of the time spanning love story successors it no doubt inspired.
Perhaps I am going soft, but the half of my heart that isn’t a swinging brick still loves Somewhere In Time. It hasn’t aged as well as hoped, but it’s themes of eternal love and a novel time travel device hasn’t diminished its timeless appeal regardless of its shortcomings.