SAME TIME NEXT YEAR: DVD
When George (Alan Alda) and Doris (Ellen Burstyn) meet in a seaside inn in California in 1951, they fall in love. After a night of passion, they discover they are each married with six children between them. So they decide to keep their rendez-vous secret and to meet again at the same time the following year. And the one after that ... Their affair continues on an annual basis as they head into middle age, and so does their friendship.
Review by Louise Keller:
The first thing to savour about this unusual and charming love story is Marvin Hamlish's melodic and haunting score, whose theme song, sung by Johnny Mathis and Jane Olivor can be hummed after hearing it once. The opening scene shows a couple checking into the Sea Shadows Inn, a simple guest house by the sea. They arrive separately, are shown to separate tables and then their eyes meet. Cue for the song.... By coffee time, they are sharing the same table, talking intimately by the fireplace and entranced by each other. It is 1951 and they wake up in the same bed.
The joys of this moving film are in the ever-changing relationship between Alan Alda's guilt-stricken George and the serene Doris (Ellen Burstyn) who both decide to share one good and one bad story about each of their spouses. 'I think I'm in love with you,' he tells her after their first night together, 'and I don't even know if you've read Catcher in the Rye.' Before long, like George and Doris, we start to care about their spouses and their children, about whom they talk constantly ('If you show me yours I'll show you mine').
Based on a play which Robert Mulligan has adapted, we meet George and Doris every five years. Each encounter is separated by black and white photos that describe what is happening in the world. There's Gary Cooper in High Noon, Marilyn in The Seven Year Itch, Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird, Richard Nixon, JFK, Louis Armstrong, The Lone Ranger....
Their time together each year may be short, but it is intensely intimate. They share a birth, a death, a hippie phase, a difference in politics and even act as marriage counsellor for each other. Alda goes from love-struck to serious, while Burstyn changes from femme fatale to hippie and then conformist grandmother. There are quarrels, romantic reunions and sorrowful partings. There's a serious question and a serious answer. But overall, we are entranced by the connection between the two characters and the resolution (after 26 years of meetings) is exactly what we would want. It's funny, sad, unexpected and moving. Just like life and its relationships.
Published November 22, 2007
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SAME TIME NEXT YEAR: DVD (M)
CAST: Alan Alda, Ellen Burstyn
PRODUCER: Morton Gottlieb, Walter Mirisch
DIRECTOR: Robert Mulligan
SCRIPT: Robert Mulligan (from his play)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Surtees
EDITOR: Sheldon Kahn
MUSIC: Marvin Hamlisch
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Henry Bumstead
RUNNING TIME: 119 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: November 5, 2007