Released in 1990
I hate romantic movies. They make me angry, they make me sad, and I end up feeling worse about myself than I did before I ever watched it. I was never going to be the girl who got her braces off, got contacts, let her hair down, and suddenly became desirable. I was never going to be the kind of woman that inspired men to go to great lengths to be with her. All these movies ever did was make me loathe myself just a little bit more. So, when I got to this movie, I dreaded watching it. The photo and plot summary at IMDB made me want to skip it. But, I made myself watch it, for the good of the project.
And I’m glad I did.
First of all, this movie is NOTHING like what the plot summary let me to believe. Because I liked this movie SO MUCH, I hesitate to say much about the plot, because I think everyone should watch it. But, in order to work through my feelings about this movie, I may have to. Here there be spoilers.
This movie is about Jamie and Nina. Jamie is dead, which surprised me, as I thought we’d see him alive, then dead. Nina is not coping very well. She misses Jamie deeply. She often thinks she can hear him talking to her, and then one day, he appears. Yes, Jamie comes back from the dead - sort of. He’s still dead, but he’s a ghost (and a corporeal one at that). Watching Jamie and Nina reunite is pure joy - I don’t think I’ve been this happy about two fictional characters reuniting since Sawyer and Juliet. They have the most amazing evening together. Well, Nina thinks it’s one evening, and I thought it was one evening, but lo and behold, it has actually been a WEEK. Also, Jamie complains about being cold, and despite a roaring fire, six or seven blankets, and the heat cranked up, he can’t get warm.
So Nina goes back to work, and that’s when reality sets in. Jamie has made some dead friends, you see, and he invites them over to watch movies. Since the dead don’t care about time, they stay up most of the night watching them, and Nina goes off to bed alone. Jamie eventually joins her, piling on as many blankets as he can. As the movie progresses, more and more dead friends start living at Nina’s flat. At one point, an entire orchestra of dead folks comes over to play with Jamie, who was a cellist before he died.
I don’t mind it when movies leave things to the imagination. I don’t need every little thing spelled out for me, but this is one of those movies where I am dying to know more. As the movie progresses, Nina gets more and more irritated with Jamie, and she finally gets fed up when he and his friends completely rearrange her flat. This is when Nina asks, “Were we always like this?” and all of a sudden I realized that we, as the audience, know very little about their relationship. We don’t know how long they had been dating, but we do know that they never lived together. We don’t even really know how long Jamie’s been gone (I don’t think. If a character mentioned it, I missed it). We know almost NOTHING about their lives together, beyond what their first date was like.
The dead are almost always perfect, have you noticed? If they had any annoying habits, or personality flaws, death washes them away. I tried to put myself in her shoes - if my husband died suddenly (as Jamie did) and came back some time later, wouldn’t I eventually get irritated with him? I don’t mean terminally irritated, but it wouldn’t bee all rainbows and kittens forever, I don’t think. What Jamie’s return did for Nina was show her just how far along in the grieving process she had actually gone. For the first part of the movie, it seems like she isn’t able to handle his death in the least, but I think she realizes that she missed the Jamie she remembered, the perfect Jamie, the Jamie that never angered her. Having him back, coupled with the apparent self-absorption that the dead have (or was Jamie like that before?), showed her that she was ready to move on. Jamie asks her if she wants him to leave. She says no, and clings to him, clearly they both know that she needs him to leave, even if she can’t bring herself to say it.
I feel bad for Jamie. At one point, it is implied that he has made an irrevocable choice, so he can’t just go into the light and go off to heaven. I think that the men he befriends are others who, like him, tried to come back and return to their old lives with the women they’ve left behind, and who have had similar results. In the end, Nina moves on with a new man, and in a scene that almost made me cry, Jamie watches Nina with her new man.
I think someday I’ll watch this movie again. I can’t now, because if I start re-watching things, I’ll never make it to the end of this project. I spent the first part of the movie jokingly putting myself down, saying that no one would ever love me enough to come back from the dead to be with me, but after watching the whole thing, I’m not so sure I’d want someone to do that for me. This is a romantic movie I can get behind, probably because it has a happy ending, but not the one that you’d think.
Alan Rickman is wonderful, as always. I used to play a number of different instruments, including the violin. When my younger brother was in orchestra, he played cello, and I taught myself to play it. I considered switching, but we had plenty of cellists, so I didn’t. He’s a damn sexy faux-cellist, I have to say. Also, I love that his hair is getting longer the further into the 80s we get, but his hair in this was a little on the wacky side. Still incredibly sexy, though, and so I’ll give him a 10 on the hotness scale.
You’ll notice that there’s no picture. I honestly couldn’t think of anything to draw, so you got a long-winded post instead.