Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: Somewhere in Time

First of all, let me apologize for my severe lack of posting as of late. Summer started out a bit busy (not what I expected) and to top it all off, I have had some computer troubles as of late (don't worry, I've got it up and running, but I'm going to need to work on it little by little to get to where it once was). So, in short, I'm still here: I've  just been quiet as of late.
Poster of Somewhere in Time

But anyways: onto Somewhere in Time.

My mom actually owns this movie on DVD, but when I actually watched it I ended up watching it on TV (and again lately rewatching it on Netflix to review it). My mom has always liked this movie (she even owns a replica picture of the character Elise McKenna that is featured in this movie), but for some reason, I didn't watch it until recently. So now that I have, here is my review of it.

Playwright Richard Collier becomes obsessed with a picture of an early 20th century actress named Elise McKenna while staying at the Grand Hotel. After doing research on Elise, Richard falls in love with her and takes it upon himself to travel back to 1912 to meet Elise and for her to fall in love with him.

Really there are only three cast members that I recognized from other period dramas. Christopher Reeve, who plays Richard Collier, was also in The Remains of the Day as American politician Jack Lewis. Jane Seymour, who plays Elise McKenna, was in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) as Marguerite Blakeney. And Christopher Plummer, who plays Elise's manager William Fawcett Robinson, was also in The Sound of Music as Captain Von Trapp.

The first meeting.
The main plot of the story has to do with the love story between Richard Collier and Elise McKenna. From the beginning of it, I was rooting for them; they seemed like a good couple. BUT (yes, there must be a but) I wasn't exactly convinced by the quickness of their love story. It seemed like the both of them fell in love after two days and were planning on getting married by the end of the week (unless I'm mistaken and the story took place over a longer period of time, but either way to me it felt a bit rushed). And to me, the quickness of their love seemed a bit unrealistic (yes, I know that this story is also a fantasy story and that the very idea of time travel is a bit unrealistic, but go with me on this): considering that Elise was a bit apprehensive of Richard when she first met him, I don't think that she would have realistically fell in love with him so quick. Richard's love, on the other hand, I thought was a little more better paced: it seemed like he was doing research on Elise in his present for a long time and that it had time to develop. Elise's love seemed very sudden.

Richard Collier obsessing over the picture of Elise McKenna.
Though the main plot revolves around the love story between Richard Collier and Elise McKenna, there is an element of fantasy (not sure if I would call it science fiction, but it might be?) in this movie. The first half of the movie has a lot to do with Richard's desire to travel back in time to 1912 after becoming obsessed with a picture of Elise McKenna. Instead of taking the classic way of travelling back in time (at least as shown in sci-fi) by actually going back in time, Richard, after talking to an old professor of his, decides to hypnotize himself into believing that he is back in 1912. It's an interesting concept that I, as a fan of sci-fi, found new and interesting. Though there is with this new idea of time travel a sense of the whole experience being temporary and everything just being in Richard's mind (though the beginning of the movie does prove that, yes, Richard did travel back in time). It was an interesting take on time travel.

William talking to "McKenna"
And as in nearly every love story, there is at least one antagonist. Though you could say that time was the enemy of Richard and Elise (that ultimately couldn't be overcome), their more physical enemy to their romance was Elise's manager, William Fawcett Robinson. William, being overly protective of Elise, tries to thwart Richard and Elise's romance, but in the end fails. He didn't necessarily ooze villain-ness (like in the same category as Rigaud from Little Dorrit), but I couldn't like him right from the beginning.

Richard Collier taking Elise McKenna out for a walk
Since this is a time-travelling period drama, there are two time periods that this movie takes place in. Richard's present is the 1970s where early on Elise makes her first appearance as an elderly woman. Elise's present is 1912 and is where the second half of the movie takes place in after Richard successfully hypnotizes himself.

A good part of the movie takes place in and around the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan (I have personally been to Mackinac Island and have seen the Grand Hotel -- never been inside though -- and the area is very nice indeed!). The cinematography in this movie is excellent! The scenes that take place in 1912 are very pretty to look at: nice colors, everything bright, everything pretty.
The ending that turned a horribly sad ending
to an ending with a happier tone.

Sure, there is some 70s costuming, but who cares about the 70s costuming when there is 1912 fashions to discuss! The costuming for the 1912 scenes are very nice! Big hats, pretty dresses, and great hair. Elise is often dressed in white or cream colors, which Jane Seymour looked lovely in. There was one dress of Elise's that I thought didn't follow the silhouette of the time, but it was lovely nevertheless.

Overall: 3.5/5
I enjoyed watching this movie, but I'm not a fan of sad endings... Seriously, I grew an attachment to Richard and Elise and I wanted them to get married and be happy (though in the past),  but it didn't work out. Spoiler Richard ended up dying of a broken heart... But the ending was redeemed in that they were finally reunited at the end (which was a pretty picture to be sure). End of Spoiler But though the end of the movie was sad, the rest of the movie was good to watch... And the sad ending was redeemed at the end so that the story ended on a happier note.

The movie is rated PG, so there isn't anything too horrible in this movie as far as content goes. There is one scene that I would recommend skipping: though it doesn't get graphic, it can be uncomfortable to watch. Luckily, that part only lasts no more than one minute. It's towards the end and you can see it coming.

Somewhere in time is available on DVD and on Netflix's Instant Streaming. It runs for 103 minutes.

Old-Fashioned Charm
This review is apart of the Period Drama Challenge. Come join the fun!


  1. This is my mom's favorite movie! If you ever get to Mackinac Island again, go inside the Grand Hotel -- there's a room on the main floor where they have The Picture of Elise and also other stuff about the movie. I think it's near the hotel's restaurant, as I can remember looking in it when we ate a little dessert at the restaurant. The hotel is gorgeous inside, and I'd love to actually be able to stay there some time instead of just going inside to look around.

    My brother and I used to stop this movie before he sticks his hand in his pocket (trying not to spoil anything for others) and imagine they could be together forever.

  2. Ah! So you saw it! Have to say I'm not surprised at your've got to like sad endings to like this movie. :D

    And your mom has an Elise portrait. SO. JEALOUS. :P

  3. I've seen pictures from this movie but haven't seen it. But I loved the pictures, they were very pretty, and the costumes looked so lovely. I might watch it if I can find it. (Although, I have a list of classics I've been planning to watch. Lots with Cary Grant :) )

  4. I was like you and wanted them to live together forever and get married "somewhere in time" -- anywhere in time! I just wanted them to be together.


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