Somewhere in Time

1980

Somewhere in Time

Critics Consensus

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61%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 18

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 32,964
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Movie Info

Christopher Reeve got away from Superman and related costume roles in this dramatic fantasy film, adapted from Richard Matheson's 1960s vintage novel Bid Time Return. A young playwright, Richard Collier (Reeve), is approached by an elderly woman on the occasion of his first triumph in 1972 -- all she says to him is "Come back to me" and leaves him with a watch that contains a picture of a ravishing young woman. Eight years later, he visits the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and comes upon a photograph of the same woman, whom he discovers was an actress who made an appearance at the hotel in 1912. He becomes obsessed with the image and what the woman -- who died the night she approached him in 1972 -- meant by what she said. In a manner somewhat reminiscent of the film Laura, he falls in love with her and her image as he learns more about her life and career. Then he comes upon the suggestion of a professor at his former college that time travel may, in fact, be possible, using an extreme form of self-hypnosis to free the person from the place they occupy in the time-stream. Collier's feelings for the woman are so strong that he succeeds, bringing himself back to the hotel in 1912 on the eve of her triumph. He meets the actress, Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour), and the two fall in love despite the machinations of her obsessive, autocratic manager (Christopher Plummer), who feels threatened by Collier's presence. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Cast

Christopher Reeve
as Richard Collier
Christopher Plummer
as William Fawcett Robinson
Teresa Wright
as Laura Roberts
Bill Erwin
as Arthur
George Voskovec
as Dr. Gerald Finney
Susan French
as Older Elise
John Alvin
as Arthur's Father
Eddra Gale
as Genevieve
Sean Hayden
as Young Arthur
Richard Matheson
as Astonished Man
Laurence Coven
as Second Critic
Susan Bugg
as Penelope
George Wendt
as Second Student
Ted Liss
as Agent
Francis X. Keefe
as Desk Clerk Grand Hotel, in 1972
Noreen Walker
as Librarian
Evans Ghiselli
as Coin Shop Operator
David Hull
as Hotel Manager
Ed Meekin
as Fisher
Paul Cook
as Doctor
Audrie J. Neenan
as Maid in Play
Barbara Giovannini
as Tourist in Hall of History
Tim Kazurinsky
as Photographer
Don Franklin
as Tourist in Hall of History
Bob Swan
as Stagehand with Note
Michael Woods
as Dinner Guest
Bo Clausen
as Man in Elevator, in 1912
James P. Dunnigan
as Second Man in Elevator, in 1912
Hal Frank
as Stage Manager, in 1912
Hayden Jones
as Man with Stage Manager, in 1912
Val Bettin
as Director, in 1912
Pat Billingsley
as Professor
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News & Interviews for Somewhere in Time

Critic Reviews for Somewhere in Time

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (7)

  • A charming, witty, passionate romantic drama about a love transcending space and time, Somewhere In Time is an old-fashioned film in the best sense of that term.

    Dec 10, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Director Jeannot Szwarc strains hard for spectacular visual effects, though he's barely able to compose a competent close-up.

    Dec 10, 2007 | Full Review…
  • This must go down as a missed opportunity.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The movie surrounds its love story with such boring mumbo jumbo about time travel that we finally just don't care.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The [Grand H]otel and Mackinac [Island] are spectacularly lovely, but fail to give substance to this ephemeral endeavor.

    Aug 30, 2004 | Rating: 2/5
  • Funny, smart, touching and, did we mention romantic? Somewhere in Time is a masterclass in acting, writing and emotive cinema. Required viewing.

    Mar 1, 2019 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Somewhere in Time

  • Apr 02, 2016
    The reason many people herald this film as a cult classic is due largely to it starring two relative stars of the 1970s in it. Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour had both made well-received big-screen debuts in successful films prior to Somewhere in Time with Seymour starring as one of the most memorable Bond girls of all time, Solitaire, in Live and Let Die and Reeve becoming a household name as Superman in the original motion picture franchise. Somewhere In Time is one of those Hollywood what-if's in regards to what would have happened if it had been widely released with their being no actor's strike occurring to limit the marketing of the film. Would it still be such a cult favourite if Mr. Reeve hadn't been tragically paralyzed by a horse riding accident and was still alive and well today? Would the film have further made Jane Seymour an 80s icon without her having to appear in dozens more films and mini-series' in order to establish herself as such if the film had blossomed at the box office? We can never really know, but amidst the what-ifs and the theories, I can say that despite it being a romance film, -- a genre of which I am not a fan of -- Somewhere In Time is a decent enough film which does have noticeable flaws, however. Reeve and Seymour as Richard Collier and Elyse McKenna have considerable chemistry despite them being together on screen for less time in the film than you'd think. Collier is the time-travelling playwright from the late 1970s who has fallen in love with McKenna's photograph in the Grand Hotel, determined to woo her by any means necessary, and McKenna is the detached stage starlet who is - albeit fictional - possibly one of the few people who is more introverted than Morrissey. The film has the typical tragedy-in-disguise structure. Collier is enthralled by McKenna and learns that she was also the old lady he met at the start of the film, he spends a good amount of screen time researching her and learning how to apparently time travel back to 1912 where he meets Elyse, gets rebuffed by her, convinces her to spend a day with him in which she falls head over heels for him, for the two to finally be together for a day of two of happiness before Richard makes a mistake and is thrown back into the future where he dies from the supposed heartbreak and is reunited with Elyse's spirit in the afterlife. Both Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour give at least decent performances with the latter's being far more genuine than the former's somewhat rehashing of the Clark Kent side of Superman into a more romanticized individual who seems to have a lot he wants to say. Jane Seymour's portrayal of Elyse McKenna is far more versatile although her character always appears restrained emotionally except for her last scene set in 1912. I found it strange while watching her portrayal of Elyse McKenna, thinking that this was also the same actress who (25 years later, mind you), portrayed characters in both Wedding Crashers and an especially hilarious episode of How I Met Your Mother which can both be classified as cougars to the point where in the How I Met Your Mother episode, Barney Stinson gets so obsessed with her that he ends up dislocating or breaking a hip while in Wedding Crashers, she makes Owen Wilson utter one of his infamous "wows" in a situation which stemmed from an unhappy marriage to Christopher Walken. Seymour throughout her entire career has shown remarkable versatility that few actors are capable of, with her performance as Elyse McKenna being one of the most intentionally-restrained of them all in true fashion of the early 20th century stage actresses. The production design is also one of the major points where this film shines. The late seventies in which this film begins have a very modernistic feel whereas the portions of the film set in 1912 radiate with an idyllic and warm vibrancy which helps the film's overtly romantic mood. It further enhances the storyline in the scenes that Richard and Elyse are together and make it so when they finally are at the point of professing to each other that it's a fuller experience for the viewers, one that flows with a vibrance which takes the entire film higher and higher before it all comes crashing down with the tragic ending. Somewhere In Time is very much a cult classic at the end of the day, not known by a ton of casual moviegoers, or even the typical Blu-Ray savant, but those who are fans of the film are fiercely devoted to keeping it's legacy alive, and that right there is what proves it a cult film truly worthy of the term.
    Kal X. A Super Reviewer
  • Jun 19, 2012
    Well, it looks as though Superman is traveling back in time for the sake of love yet again, and he doesn't even have to something as stupid as fly around the Earth to do it. That resolving scene was actually was kind of cool to a certain degree, but if you aren't sold on the fact that Hollywood will pull any kind of dumb, gratingly impossible deus ex machina move to crowbar in a happy ending then, well, you might very well be right, because that bit in "Superman" was so stupid that I think Hollywood has since, or at least should have since deemed the time-traveling flyover their cutoff point. Of course, thinking really, really hard in some old-fashioned hotel room, on the other hand, is a completely logical way to travel back in time. Actually, sarcasm aside, that may very well be correct, because as Stephen King has taught us time (So to speak) and again, if you're a writer who stays in a hotel, or inn, or any other isolated area, something crazy like that is bound to happen, though I wouldn't recommend that you up-and-coming playwrights experiment with that theory, because as King has also taught us, that crazy event won't always have Jane Seymour on the other end of it. Well, it might, but it won't be the young and pretty Jane Seymour who falls in love with you, but rather the creepy looking older one we have now. It would make for the scariest Stephen King story in years. Still, as the story stands, while it may not satisfy the horror audience, it still makes for a pretty good romantic-drama film, though not at all a spotless one. The film has its quieter and steadier moments that may not dull it down too often, yet slow still slow it down in momentum quite a bit on more than a few occasions, or at least what momentum there is. The film's development segment is quite overlong, with repetition and padding forcing in more and more, well, time on the clock before we even go back in time. Once we get there, things aren't much better, with much padding and slowness really leaving the film to limp quite a bit on more than a few occasions, taking quite a while to really pick up. Still, what is just about as consistent and detrimental within the film is the simple fact that it is just so melodramatic, whether it be Chris Reeve's Richard Collier character's initial obsession with traveling through time just for some girl he had never heard of until recently, or just the romance between Collier and Jane Seymour's Elise McKenna character, in general, or, worst of all, that way too hard to buy resolution, ultimately somewhat touching in its final shot though, it may be. The film isn't close to the biggest ear of corn you can pluck from the romance film fields, yet it does get to be a bit hard to comfortably flow into, if not just plain cheesy, to an extent. It's hard to pull a film of this concept to a high point, let alone past fairness, yet it does still stands to be better than this. However, as it stands, the film is still one to watch - nay - simply enjoy, because for ever mistake made, it pulls the right moves to really keep you with it, or at least hold your eyes' attention. The production designs are eye-catchingly dashing, with an elaborate slickness that captures the prestige of the classy cultures within the 1910s. Another aspect that keeps you sticking with the film, and enjoyably at that, is simply its innocent charm. Sure, this film may be a touch too innocent for its own good, not having enough oomph for it to raise past average, yet it is ultimately good-spirited and well-intentioned, thus creating winning charm, augmented by some generally sharp and entertaining humor, thankfully just about none of which rely on a dreaded fish-out-of-water theme that I can't stand and feared this film boasting. What further enhances the charm are the performances, none of which are dramatically impressive, yet all of which are thoroughly charming, especially that of Christopher Reeve, who may not have been doing much more than playing Clark Kent, yet he still knew his way around that kind of charmingly good-natured role that helps in establishing some pretty undeniably fine chemistry between him and Jane Seymour. Yes, indeed, even with all of the damaging melodrama, the romance between the Richard Collier and Elise McKenna characters remains compelling, made so not just by the charismatic performers leading the way, but the man who helps in composing the path. Jeannot Szwarc's direction is anything but perfect, yet it is ultimately engaging, whether it be through the aforementioned charm or simply his ability to generally trasncend the sting of the melodrama. Granted, Szwarc is all but entirely blame for the melodrama being present in the first place, yet he manages to work around his mistakes just enough, decidedly not to where this film stands as genuinely impacting, yet still enough the romance, charm and overall experience of watching the final product to ultimately win you over, more than lose you. Bottom line, the film is lacking on overall oomph, thus creating an underwhelmingness that goes augmented by slow spots and overdrawn segments that all simply lead to melodrama, yet through dashing production designs that liven up the world, just as much as the decent humor and colorful cast - headed by the charismatic and sparking duo of Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour - that enhance the overall winning charm that ultimately leaves "Somewhere in Time" to stand as a consistently enjoyable journey, rather improvable though, it may be. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Feb 11, 2011
    I expected to enjoy this film quite a bit. Along with "When Harry Met Sally," which I highly enjoyed, this ranks up with my dad's favorite movies. My expectations ran right into a solid, hard brick wall. John Barry's fine score is the only shining point in this remarkably bad film. Christopher Reeve can't play a believable courter to save his life, the screenplay muddles everything from romance to time travel, and the result is an absurd film that takes itself far too seriously. As the film progressed, I was nearing the point of physically injuring myself. Seriously. This is about as perfect an example as there is of bad, bad filmmaking.
    Jay H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 02, 2010
    Okay, I can relate to women of 1980 who were looking for something romantic to cling to. Still, I cannot be remiss if I didn't also ask them why the hell they herald this as a classic. The plot is so diluted of any type of reality or at least common sense, it just ruins the movie. The chemistry between Seymour and Reeve is a crowd pleaser, but you can't stick two people together with little romantic license and pretend it's just love at first sight, especially not with such an involved subplot. Personally, this just tired me. I do give kudos to Christopher Reeve, who showed us he is a decent actor even among such a shitty plot and premise.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer

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