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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a great little movie, with a great heart to it. One of those movies that can stay with you for years afterward.Although it really does look dated after all this time look for all those little nuggets you see from time to time in movies-the way Hartley's character, in her last scene, looks around as her life is about to be spread to the four winds, one last look before she leaves. The way the two leads think about their life together, not yet realizing its over even though its all gone, all you have is a memory. Don't knock this film-I have been sick the last two years, nearly died, and I recognized the look in the eyes (good acting of course) when you do realize that death is not so far away.And I think Ed Asner is a superb actor-both emotive and subtle.
Forget about the plot - of course "ghost" movies can run into formula. What's amazing about this little film - which I just watched again after 30 years - is the acting by Hartley, Asner and Bosley. Besides being genuinely touching (with a very poignant moment regarding end of life decisions that was ahead of its time), this movie is absolutely hysterical at times. Hartley never misses a beat, and shows off her comedic chops brilliantly. But it's the interpersonal relationships, little quips and asides that make this so enjoyable. It's certainly better than anything running on network television right now - especially in regard to strong, intelligent female characters (who aren't law enforcers shooting people or lawyers).
How did all these talented people get rooked into doing such a slight, nondescript piece of fluff? Loving couple Ed Asner and Mariette Hartley are tragically separated by her death--but not for long! She comes back as a ghost, whom only Asner can see, yet she has no particular purpose or plan. The opening moments with Asner and family (including Jodie Foster, during her college years) grieving Hartley's loss are painfully elongated. Does the film want to be fanciful or realistic? Don't worry, this is just a sitcom-wannabe in low-budget dress, and soon Asner is talking to the ghost and everybody thinks he's gone off the deep end. The cast collectively jumped into the deep end after boarding this sinking vessel. Incidentally, the myriad of movie-review books are indecisive as to whether this was a cable-TV movie, a straight-to-video loser, or a failed theatrical production. I saw it on video, but I assume with all the talent involved it was meant for theaters. Either way, you can't get a refund. *1/2 from ****
I saw this film over 15 years ago on Cable TV. There are far worse films out there that you can watch. I liked and cared for the characters, and that's more than you can say about a lot of films. And I remember the plot after all this time.
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