It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"Somewhere in Time" wants us to share its sweeping romantic idealism, about a love so great that it spanned the decades and violated the sanctity of time itself. But we keep getting distracted by nagging doubts, like, isn't it a little futile to travel 68 years backward into time for a one-night stand? The movie surrounds its love story with such boring mumbo jumbo about time travel that we finally just don't care.
It didn't have to be that way. Last year's underrated and neglected movie "Time after Time," which had H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper traveling forward into modern San Francisco, contained a love story that had a lot of sly fun with the notion of relationships between people of different eras. "Somewhere in Time" has a lot of qualities, but slyness and fun are not two of them.
This movie drips with solemnity. It enshrines its lovers in such excessive romantic nobility that Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody plays almost every time they're on the screen. This is the kind of romance so sacred, so serious, so awesome, that you have to lower your voice in the presence of it. Romances like those are boring even to the monstrous egos usually involved in them.
But back to the movie. "Somewhere in Time" stars Christopher Reeve as a Chicago playwright who visits the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and sees a photograph there of an actress who appeared at the hotel in 1912. He is smitten; no, he is obsessed. He researches the career of the actress, falls in love with her, learns from a pseudoscientific psychology professor that time travel is possible, and hypnotizes himself to travel back to 1912.