Somewhere in Time


A digression…. but that’s what blogs are for…


Night fell with a thud last night, and with it the winds.  They howl in off the coast this time of year, whipping around shutters, tearing at doors and windows.  Then the rain started.  Spatters at first, then buckets drumming on the drenched roof like spears on wooden shields. 

What’s a hopeless romantic to do on a night like this?  Well, I can only tell you what I did.  I made two steaming mugs of hot chocolate, lit some candles, shared a fleece blanket with my husband and snuggled up to watch “the most romantic movie ever filmed.”  For the fourth time in a week.

I can’t honestly recall the first time I saw Somewhere in Time (Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, 1980).  However, I am certain that it wasn’t in a theatre.

If memory serves, my husband – then a student in law school – came to bed unusually late one night.  I had long since retired.  The next morning I asked what kept him up so late.  He replied, “Well, I was channel surfing and I got engrossed in this movie.  I just couldn’t go to bed until I’d watched it all the way through.” 

“Who was in it?”

“Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.  Christopher Plummer was in it, too.  It’s a love story about this guy who travels back in time to find his lost love.”

“What’s it called?”

Unfortunately, my husband missed the first few minutes of the movie during his surfing and didn’t know what the title was!  (Arrrgh!)  He caught SIT “already in progress,” just after the title and initial credits started to roll and the opening scene unfolds where Richard’s new play “might be good enough for Broadway” according to a critic.

I was entranced by my hubby’s subsequent description of the SIT plot – but since we didn’t know the movie’s title, we really had no way to track it down.  This was sometime in the mid or late 1980s, before we bought our first computer and the Internet arrived on the scene!  

Years later – probably 1999 or 2000 or so – I was roaming the video collection of an L.A. public library.  A case featuring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour caught my eye.  I took it off the shelf, read the synopsis, and something clicked.  Turning the video case over, I noticed the title: Somewhere in Time

Hmmm.  I wonder if this is that movie Chris caught on TV and told me about nine or 10 years ago? I checked out the video, watched it, and immediately fell in love with the movie.  I watched it again with Chris later that evening and he confirmed my instincts: “Hey!  Remember that movie I told you about several years ago?  This is IT!”     

I returned the movie to the library when it was due and proceeded to forget about SIT.  Until 2003.  We had moved to another state and I was idly browsing my sister in law’s video collection, looking for a “chick flick.”  She had Somewhere in Time.  I watched it again – it was a magical and as enchanting as ever.  This time, however, I noticed that the movie was based on a novel by Richard Matheson. 

The next day I dashed out to the local library, found Bid Time Return, and read the book cover to cover in one sitting.  I loved it.  We moved again soon thereafter, and I forgot about the movie.  For another four years.

Another town.  Another library.  October 2007.  I was actually heading toward the Adult Non-fiction section, which is just after the library’s video collection, when I saw a copy of SIT sitting on a shelf.  By itself.  I wasn’t planning on stopping or checking it out, but what the heck?  I did.  Again, the story was as wonderful in October 2007 as it was the first time I heard about it some 20 years ago.  (I really ought to buy stock in Kleenex.)

I ordered Bid Time Return from the library.  It came in last week.  I snatched it up and read the entire novel again, cover to cover in one sitting.  Since then I’ve watched the movie four times in one week.  If I’d started earlier, I’d be more well-versed in this magical movie by now – but I just “better late than never?”  Guess I have a lot of catching up to do! 

The other day Chris and I were talking about this extraordinary movie, now a bonafide cult classic, and I pronounced SIT my all-time favorite chick flick. 

“Really?” Chris said.  “You like Somewhere in Time more than Sleepless?” 


“More than Out of Africa?” 


“Than Sense and Sensibility?”  I hesitated a minute or two on that one, but said Yes.

Somewhere in Time has a poignant, enchanting quality so rare in movies these days.  Watching SIT is like unearthing the Hope Diamond in a trash heap.  It’s a magnificently melancholy movie that pulls at the heart strings without being cloying or overly manipulative.  And while some may dismiss the “loved and lost” plot as “sappy” or incredulous, I prefer to think of it as luminous, romantic, and in fact, timeless.

Oh yes, I also (finally) ordered my own copy of SIT on DVD as a birthday gift to myself.  🙂  I can’t hog the library copy forever!

Somewhere in Time has been called “The most romantic movie ever made.”  I have to agree. 

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2 Responses

  1. Did you know that the book was inspired by a famous real life actress from the turn of the century–Maude Adams. Matheson reportedly saw her photo in an old opera house, in Arizona if I remember right.

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