Somewhere in Time [1980]

Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Stars: Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer, Teresa Wright, Bill Erwin
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 104 minutes

It's silly, it's superficial, it's so desperately earnest about its tale of time-spanning love that you almost wish for a cheap flatulence gag just to break the solemn mood. But there's something so unabashedly gushy and entertaining about Somewhere in Time that you can't begrudge its enduring popularity. The film has become a staple of romantic-movie lovers since its release in 1980, and endless showings on cable TV have turned it into a dubious classic of sorts--a three-hanky weeper that anyone can enjoy as a guilty pleasure or a beloved favorite, with no apologies necessary. In his first film after the star-making success of Superman, Christopher Reeve stars as a contemporary playwright who visits a posh hotel and sees the portrait of an actress (Jane Seymour) who had performed there in 1912. He becomes obsessed with this beautiful woman and learns all he can about her, and then discovers a method of hypnotically transporting himself backward in time to meet her. "Is it ... you?" she says upon seeing the lovestruck playwright, and it's clearly a mutual attraction. But even the slightest reminder of the playwright's modern time can jar him from his seemingly real existence in the past, so his wonderful love affair is constantly just a step from being stolen away. Based on Richard Matheson's novel Bid Time Return, this flaky film may strain one's tolerance for plot holes and corny romance, but it's hard to deny its lasting appeal--and let's face it, guys, it'll make wives and girlfriends swoon if they're in a tearjerker mood. --Jeff Shannon

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