Time After Time is a love story about soul mates, written as a screenplay. It is about a history professor who undergoes hypnosis to overcome his recurring nightmares and regresses to his past life as a Civil War soldier. There, he meets his soul mate but loses her, and becomes desperate to find her again in his present life. His search is complicated by other characters, plot twists, and his own failings. But eventually, he learns important lessons about eternal love.
Time After Time appeals to a wide audience. It satisfies romantics by offering a new, yet essentially universal, perspective on eternal love and soul mates. It intrigues people interested in reincarnation and past life regressions through the unusual plot. It charms movie buffs with its engaging screenplay format, the plot going back and forth between two different time periods, the dramatic battle action, and the tender love scenes.
[Notes: (1) Screenplay format: Each new scene starts with exterior vs. interior, the location, and the time. The characters’ names are in “all caps” when they speak or are part of some action. (2) The excerpt starts in the middle of a scene, so here’s the background for this scene: The three characters are college professors in their 30s talking over lunch in the college cafeteria. Emma is from England and new to the campus.]
EMMA: Well, it was strange really. I had a couple of job offers that I was terribly excited about. But they didn’t pan out for some reason. So I ended up here. But I think I’m going to like it. (Looking at Stuart) It feels right somehow.
STUART: That’s kind of how I ended up here too. This was several years ago, of course. But it’s turned out okay. The ghosts of the Civil War must still be roaming around here. They really inspire my work.
EMMA: It’s hard for me to imagine a war around here. It’s such a peaceful place.
ANDY: Ah, it only looks peaceful. (Pointing to his head) The wars are being fought in people’s minds. All around you.
STUART suddenly looks uncomfortable and shifts in his chair.
EMMA (laughing): That’s what psychologists want us to think, don’t they? To drum up business?
ANDY laughs good-naturedly. STUART looks a little relieved.
ANDY: You’d be surprised how many people in this small town need counseling.
EMMA: And you help them win their private wars, I suppose?
STUART looks uncomfortable again. ANDY stops eating and leans forward.
ANDY: Actually, I’m doing some really exciting work in that area. I’m using hypnosis for people with phobias.
STUART (interested): Hypnosis?
ANDY: Yeah. I regress people as far back as necessary. Some have gone back to a childhood trauma. And it seems to cure them of their phobia.
EMMA (looking at Stuart): Well, that’s good I suppose.
STUART shrugs and smiles at her. ANDY is bubbling with excitement.
ANDY: Wait, there’s more. A couple of them have even gone back to past lives.
EMMA looks disbelieving. STUART looks very interested, but guarded. ANDY leans back.
ANDY: I’m hoping to do a lot more past life regressions. In fact, I want to recruit students as subjects, and do a study on past lives.
EMMA looks at STUART questioningly.
STUART (smiling): She’s not buying this, Andy.
ANDY: Don’t you believe we’ve all been here before, Emma?
EMMA shrugs and smiles uncertainly. STUART smiles reassuringly at her.
EXTERIOR: A SUBURBAN STREET (LATE NIGHT)
A peaceful, suburban neighborhood. Not a person in sight. Only a few lights are still on.
INTERIOR: STUART’S BEDROOM (CONTINUOUS)
STUART is having another nightmare. This time the SOUNDS from his dream are louder and last longer. We hear EXPLOSIONS, SCREAMS, CRYING, and STRANGE ZIPPING NOISES. STUART thrashes around and suddenly sits up, YELLING. He is sweating and trembling.
INTERIOR: STUART’S KITCHEN (CONTINUOUS)
STUART is again staring out the window into the darkness, with a glass of milk in his hand. He looks frustrated and bewildered.
INTERIOR: STUART’S KITCHEN (MORNING)
STUART is dressed and drinking coffee. He is talking on the phone.
STUART: I need to see you, Andy. (Pause) I’d rather not say right now, but it’s really important. (Pause) Good, see you then.