Somewhere in Time

I’m not being falsely immodest when I tell you that I am as cynical as they come. I abhor cheap sentimentality and patently manipulated bathos, which (partially) explains why I considered Phenomenon a disappointment and Terms of Endearment a total disgrace.

But give me a well-crafted tear-jerker with subtly developed emotion and I’m as lump-throated as the most shameless Harlequin fan;  I still mist up over Starman every time out. Which brings us to Somewhere in Time.

One of my favorite popular novels a few years back was Jack Finney’s Time and Again, the story of an ordinary, modern day guy who takes part in an experiment that transports him back to New York at the turn of the century in an attempt to revise history. A similar premise is employed in Somewhere in Time. In this case, Christopher Reeve does the temporal magic, and rather than a New York setting, it takes place in an old hotel. In an unanticipated development, he is badly smitten by an actress (Jane Seymour) who visited the place years ago, and eventually falls in love with her. The problem, of course, is that he really lives many years in her future, a bit of a sticky situation not easily resolved by real-world physics.

But this is the movies, not MIT, and while this movie is not terribly substantial, it is worth seeing just to give your tear ducts a workout without the kind of embarrassment you should have felt for weeping over the absurdly cheap trick of Debra Winger’s character getting the Big C in Terms of Endearment. Contributing hugely to the movie’s impact is the score based on Rachmaninoff’s "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini," romantically over-the-top music from a composer who was romantically over-the-top to begin with.

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