Yeah yeah so I didn’t get to those reviews. I had other stuff to do. Mostly cleaning (and believe me the rich vein of metaphor on that one is nowhere near tapped out) but other stuff too. Life is kinda happening and I am in an interesting place – but that’s a whole other post.
So how about those reviews.
1. Why Just Like Heaven is better than Ghost
I guess “because it is” is not really rising to the challenge of movie reviewing now is it? 😉 Still this will be brief (ish).
Firstly there is such a thing as too much Whoopi Goldberg. She’s good in Ghost, she’s funny. But it’s not a subtle performance and it can grate at times.
Secondly the whole tone is more maudlin. In Ghost Demi Moore is grieving the loss of her lover Patrick Swayzee. The film is about having time to say goodbye and let go – with the subplot of who murdered Swayzee. So even in the upbeat parts of the portrayal of the relationship are undercut by a sense of sadness and loss. Which is fine, but for a comedy it’s a bit downbeat. It also goes overboard on sentimentality for my tastes.
In Just Like Heaven by comparison, although Reese Witherspoon is a ‘ghost’ she’s not actually dead just in a coma. So the final act of the movie is about whether or not she can be resuscitated. Not to spoil you but it’s a happy ending. Also whilst Ghost has the letting go of a relationship this is about the forming of one. So we get to see Witherspoon and Ruffalo fall for each other, and whilst there’s nothing particularly innovative about they way they do it, the leads are winning enough for it to be enjoyable.
Finally, there’s that scene You know the one. Unchained Melody. Potter’s Wheel. The only reason we’re not drowning in sentimentality is because it’s overpowered by the bluntness of the sex symbolism. I imagine Ghost’s target audience are wont to shed a tear during that scene and see it as a beautiful representation of Truw Wuv. The rest of us rolled our eyes and said “oh come on!”
Now JLH has a scene which serves a similar purpose. Witherspoon and Ruffalo are sharing their last night together. It’s established they care for each other. Even though she’s a ghost she can sort of feel him, and only him. He asks her what she wants to do with their (potentially) final night and she leads him to the bed where they lay down together and touch their hands together, palm to palm. It’s a sort-of, kind-of stand-in sex scene as it’s an attempt at an of expression of physical intimacy even though they really lack the means. (thereby demonstrating of course that their relationship has reached a level of emotional intimacy).
Now I’m not suggesting that this scene is wonderful or even one of the better scenes in this movie, but it does seem that they went to the brink of something like the Potter’s Wheel scene from Ghost and showed great restraint in going for something briefer and infinitely more subtle. (Perhaps also, I can enjoy this scene because I have experienced non-physical expressions of physical intimacy. I’m thinking of the time I met a close online friend in a 3D environment and felt a sudden surge of emotion as our 3D avatars sat together on a virtual couch.)
Hmm I guess that wasn’t really brief. I’ll do the next movie soon (tomorrow?)
P.S. the thing about the music was that I was listening to a CD I made for M. and so the songs in successive posts reflected that order. I didn’t want to point this out because at that point M. didn’t have the CD.