3 September 1999 | Megabuck
Tears, snot, pain - what a wonderful film
Having spent some time in the States, I got to watch the brilliant review programme starring Siskel and Ebert (rest in peace, Gene). I've now got a rather dated copy of Ebert's book, and his review of this film matches my opinions perfectly.
Comparisons of this film and Ghost are fatuous, since the similarities are only superficial. Yes, the main protagonists are a couple where the man dies and returns as a ghost, but that's about it. Truly, madly, deeply is wonderfully involving - it has that indefinable something that makes you care about the characters, and pray that the film makers won't cop out and go for a stupid ending.
Fear not, they remain true to the rest of the film. If you only know Alan Rickman from his 'baddie' roles in films like Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, this will come as a complete surprise. He plays the recently departed Jamie, who must hang around as a ghost until Nina (Juliet Stevenson) finds happiness. The film is slow-paced, but that doesn't matter - it's a wonderful character study.
Of course, it's helped by having Nina played by the utterly wonderful Juliet Stevenson. In the early scenes, when she's grieving for Jamie, her pain is almost palpable. Forget Demi Moore-style teary-eyed, looking ever more beautiful grieving - this is the real thing, floods of tears, almost incoherent, looking like crap, snot-nosed AGONY. The transformation when she realises that Jamie is still around is a joy to watch - as is most of the film, actually.
'Ghost' for adults? In a way, but I think it's comparing apples and oranges. It's a masterful character study, with a great script and a cast on top of their form. Well worth watching.