Sitting in a bar with some friends I ask each of them the question “What is your favorite movie?”. Most of them reply with films I have already seen but then someone mentions “Somewhere in Time”. Not being familiar with it I ask them to tell me more about it. They say it’s a time travel movie starring Christopher Reeve. “What?” I said “A time travel movie with Christopher Reeve, Superman?”, i was sold by those two facts. By chance, 7 months later I discover the film is being shown at a cinema not far from where I live. A perfect opportunity to see this film in style.
Based on the book “Bid Time Return” Christopher Reeves character Richard is approached by an old lady who gives him a watch and tells him to “come back” to her. Sounds creepy at first but 7 years later he finds himself entranced by a picture of an actress he sees at a hotel he is staying at. He falls in love at first sight and he knows he has seen this woman before. After a series of strange coincidences linked to this lady he does more research on her and begins to believe that he has met this lady (will meet this lady) in the past. Trying to fulfill his destiny by finding a way to return to the past he asks his old Professor about the possibility of being able to time travel through self hypnotic suggestion.
Reading bits and pieces about this movie after viewing it I agree with the view that men like this movie because it’s a romance movie from a man’s perspective. Finding a perfect love in something that seems unattainable. I think many people can relate to that. Falling in love with an actress one might see in a movie or on TV or even falling in love with a complete stranger in a dream. There’s something magical and pure about it and that to me is what this film is about. The fulfillment of this dream, this wish, is not that he is able to travel back and meet this woman, but that his feelings are reciprocated. The woman he longs for is someone who has also dreamed of that perfect man, and that man literally travels back in time to meet her. Can it be anymore perfect and wonderful than that? What makes this all work is that humble charm that Christopher Reeves embodies. Again there’s something innocent and magical in how he portrays Richard in the same way as he portrayed the innocence of Clark Kent and the goodness of Superman. Jane Seymour looks extraordinarily beautiful in this movie and possesses the characteristics of a woman changing from youthful girl to elegant lady.
The time travel aspects in this are most interesting. It’s a method I don’t recall seeing in other movies before. It’s based on a book which hypothesizes that we can hypnotize our mind to convince our self we are in the past. Which is not too far fetched if you consider precognitive dreaming possible. However, this kind of time travel depends on the person believing they are actually in another time. Also it’s not just dreaming, whatever happens actually happens. Which gives weight to the words “in dreams begin responsibilities”.
The Watch: Is this the same watch over and over again? Is the Watch going through it’s own timeloop? I think that is not the case. Most likely it was a gift chosen to be given because of the similarity to Richards watch. Meaning that seeing that Watch on Richard compels her to give him a watch like that. The watch would be impossibly old if that were the case, as would be Kirk’s glasses in Star Trek II: TWOK.
So how do we define the time travel event? Predestination Paradox. Everything that happens was supposed to happen and will happen again, Richard’s travelling to the past is why Elise goes to him in future and asks him to return to her. It’s also possible that this is an altered timeline, meaning that Richard did travel back in time before without having met Elise in the future and it was this first incursion that caused the paradox. But I am leaning towards the former because of the coincidences that drive Richard to explore more about Elise and ultimately find that he had met her before. Thus we have a paradox. There is no original beginning or end.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning the music and that piece, Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”. It sends chills down my spine to hear it for listening to it in this movie reminds me of some faded dream or maybe another movie that used this score to great effect as here. Beautiful and somewhat haunting and ultimately uplifting like “Somewhere in time” it sticks with you and brings back all those feelings again every time you hear it.
Favorite Quote: “The man of my dreams has almost faded now. The one I have created in my mind. The sort of man each woman dreams of, in the deepest and most secret reaches of her heart. I can almost see him now before me. What would I say to him if he were really here? “Forgive me. I have never known this feeling. I have lived without it all my life. Is it any wonder, then, I failed to recognise you? You, who brought it to me for the first time. Is there any way that I can tell you how my life has changed? Any way at all to let you know what sweetness you have given me? There is so much to say. I cannot find the words. Except for these: I love you”. Such would I say to him if he were really here.” – Elise