If you have just opened this page to decide whether you want to rent this film, I recommend you not read ANYTHING about it. See the film with no preconceptions and discover what it means to you. As each viewer will bring his own life experience and beliefs to it, you may perceive a different story than other viewers. For me, it is one of the most memorable of films.
After you have viewed it, come back to see which reviewers saw the same story you did.
Some reviewers have panned this film for being a lame and predictable ghost story. I don't think that's what it is, possibly because I don't believe in ghosts but do believe in the power of past events in our minds. It occurred to me early on that Ruby may not be real, but as I had read nothing about the story before seeing it I maintained this as a hypothesis rather than as a fact.
As I watched the film I concluded that the protagonist was delusional. The memories jarred by his visit to Genoa, by staying in his boyhood home, were just too painful--the father who was distant to the point of nonexistence, the love he had lost as a teen, the guilt he felt related to Sylvia's death. Most of us can look at past events and see ones we wish had turned out differently, but these events go beyond that. These events he has repressed and they have held him prisoner. Ruby is a creation of his tortured mind, a way to try to reconnect with Sylvia.
And it worked for him. He saves her from drowning in the same river, they talk, she tells him she loved him, they make love; things that would have happened had he not taken her into the water years earlier. Things he needs to have happen, even if only in his mind.
In the closing scenes he is not surprised to see she has disappeared. He accepts that and is ready to begin healing.
Of course, he could also just be dreaming and will soon awaken. But that ending was overused long ago.
A truly beautiful and memorable film.
6 out of 8 found this helpful