Year 2, Day 58 - 2/27/10 - Movie #423
BEFORE: Continuing the theme of romance across the ages...
THE PLOT: A Chicago playwright uses self-hypnosis to find the actress whose vintage portrait hangs in a grand hotel.
AFTER: Hypnosis? Really? No machine, no portal, no time-traveling ring?
Chicago Playwright Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) receives a vintage watch from an old lady after one of his plays is performed - and she cryptically says "Come back to me..." Eight years later, he finds himself drawn to a hotel, and a portrait of Elise Mackenna (Jane Seymour) a striking actress who performed in a play at the hotel in 1910. When he finds his name in an old hotel register, he's convinced that he can travel back in time to meet her. Because there's just no way that someone with the same name could have ever visited that hotel...
Collier then gets some really bad advice from his old physics professor, who suggests that he dress in period costume, surround himself with artifacts from the hotel's attic, and hypnotize himself to believing that he IS in 1910. So although it seems like he travels back in time to romance Elise, we're never really sure whether this journey is real or imagined.
You'd think, however, that the appearance of the elderly lady, who of course is an older Elise who waited 70 years in solitude to find the young Richard as a college student, would confirm his ability to time travel, right? However, one key element is missing - he never told her that he was visiting from the future. So how would she know to wait for him, and how would she know what year he would be born, and when and where he would be attending college?
Which suggests the alternate theory, that Richard's journey to 1910 was only imagined, and that his self-hypnosis was too successful, causing him to get lost within his own fantasy. His body would be comatose or unconscious while he imagined the fantasy world wherein he could romance a young, innocent actress.
Anyway, what message did she hope to deliver with the watch? Telling Richard to "come back" to her, at a time 8 years before he even left, only confused him. And if she did manage to get him to "come back", then she'd be with him and not alone, which would mean that she wouldn't have to deliver the watch, and just like that, we're in a time paradox.
Nope, it's much more reasonable to assume that the old lady delivering the watch was a random occurrence, which caused a man to descend into obsessive madness...
Also starring Christopher Plummer, with brief appearances by a young William H. Macy (his first movie!) as a theater critic, and Tim Kazurinsky as a photgrapher in 1910.
RATING: 5 out of 10 room keys