A playwright uses self-hypnosis to travel back in time to 1912 and fall
in love with an actress whose picture he's entranced with in his own time.
Somewhere in Time (1980)
Directed by Jeannot Szwarc
Written by Richard Matheson
Starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour,
Christopher Plummer, Bill Erwin
Based on the novel Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson
Oscar Nominations - Best Costume Design
Somewhere in Time is a gorgeous love story that has never gotten the critical respect it deserves, but it has achieved underground success as a cult favorite. Starring Christopher Reeve fresh off Superman, this film tells the story of a man who fought time itself to meet the woman he hoped he'd fall in love with. And lo and behold, he did, and she loved him back. Though it's not without it's issues, Somewhere in Time is a heartbreaking tale of love won and love lost, and it's delightfully original.
Reeve plays Richard Collier, a playwright staying at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island (a real place, by the way). He discovers a portrait of an actress named Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour) in the hotel and becomes obsessed with it for reasons he can't quite understand. He learns that the actress had met him years earlier and given him a watch. She was also reading about time travel. Richard discovers a way to will himself back in time, where he meets Elise and sparks a romance. But he's a man out of time, and thus the relationship is likely doomed. Or will love win over all? I won't tell, but it will bring tears to your eyes.
Christopher Reeve agreed to do this film because he loved the story and the characters. He was a massive star after Superman, and he could've done anything, but he chose this. Sure, the time travel makes no sense and we never get to see resolution with Christopher Plummer's villain, but the love story overshadows these issues thanks to Reeve and Seymour's undeniable chemistry. This is arguably one of the most romantic films ever made, and not enough people know about it, which is the most tragic part of the entire thing.