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No matter how prepared we get for corniness, we rapidly find ourselves
absorbed by the romance between Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze and much
more by the depiction of death
strangely plausible and, no pun
intended, quite haunting.
Indeed, the main premise of "Ghost", which won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, is to feature death from the dead's perspective. Not a revolutionary plot device but the only one that occupies the whole story with the ghost trying to reach the living. Why wouldn't Sam try to talk to his parents, his friends, why would Molly, all of sudden, become the center of his afterlife? The script tactfully escapes from this criticism when it's clearly established that Sam's death is not accidental, and the cause of his murder incidentally puts Molly in a dangerous situation.
I also want to answer one criticism expressed by Roger Ebert, why would a ghost still care about Earthly matters, why wouldn't follow the white light and go have a chat with either "Elvis of Aristotles"? I think that the most important feeling channeled by Swayze's performance is disbelief. He can't get the idea of not belonging to this world anymore, and this is why I felt that the portrayal of death, as a separation between the soul and the body, and the atrocious witnessing of one's death, was 'plausible', I could imagine myself dying this way. It's even ironic how Sam goes through the stages of grief for his own death, from denial to resignation.
And it's extraordinary how Swayze perfectly captures the desperateness of a man who had so much to do, so many dreams and projects and finally saw his life abruptly cut. His penetrating expressions are astonishingly convincing, whether it's for sadness, empathy, compassion, his eyes are more eloquent than any of his lines. And his performance is crucial since he's portraying an isolated character. As soon as he becomes a ghost, he only interacts with a few other ghosts, even Whoopi Goldberg who plays the medium Oda Mae, can only hear him. Swayze's believability relies on his ability to touch the viewers instead of the characters, definitely the most defining performance of an actor who sadly left us too soon.
And Sam's exhaustive journey, starts with his necessity to deal with his new condition, in order to stop the scheme that lead to his death. And the learning part renovates all the good old archetypes of the ghost crossing doors and touching objects. Ghosts can feel sensations and only touch or move things if they're able to think themselves as ghosts, it's an exciting part of the film to see a man learning his powers to be able to use them as weapons. In conclusion, Sam stays because he can't believe he dies and he tries to reach Molly because she's in danger. We're far from the whole 'unfinished job' and 'transcending love' clichés, the film delivers something original out of familiar material.
The film also innovates with the scary portrayal of the bad guys' deaths. The atrocious sight of moaning evil shadows converging to take someone away justifies the belief in a sort of immanent justice, and the exhilarating idea that we all die twice, the good people going to heaven, and the others in some place, we don't want to know. The villains' demises is very unsettling, it can even traumatize some sensitive minds, and you see in Swayze's eyes that he feels sorry for them, for even death don't make people even. But "Ghost"'s thrilling metaphysical value also originates the magnificent ending which is probably the closest depiction to heaven ever gracing the screen.
And there's another cliché that the film tactfully reinvents, the 'Old Magic Negro', and it succeeds for two reasons. First, Oda Mae is a crook, she's not a real medium, which is funny and she discovers that she really has the power, which is even funnier. Secondly, it's Whoopi Goldberg and it's one of her greatest roles, earning her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and beyond the comic relief aspect, this is exactly what a supporting performance is supposed to be: secondary, yet so scene-stealing that we can't imagine the film without it. Goldberg provides all the laughs, capable of the most acid irony with Swayze, and being comprehensive and diplomatic, in her streetwise way, with Molly.
This is a credit to Jerry Zucker, who didn't forget his comedic roots and made a few hilarious moments of the film. My only regret and this time, I share Ebert's view, I wish he had the guts to portray the second kissing scene with Whoopi Goldberg. No matter how weird it would have looked, it would have touched a very sensitive nerve and be even sadder because we would still get the idea that the sweet and tender Molly can't see Sam since he entered Oda Mae's body and it would have made the final scene even more rewarding. And I can't go on without mentioning the sweet and sensitive performance of Demi Moore as the fragile Molly, unbelievably cute with that short haircut, that became one of the film's trademarks along with Swayze's red shirt and Oda Mae's exaggerated dress.
Even though Jerry Zucker, the co-director of so many spoof classics, can seem as unlikely choice to direct a drama like "Ghost" but with all the material he had, the script, the casting, the visual effects, a magnificent score from Maurice Jarre, all he had to do is to assemble all these elements of greatness in a straight-forward way, without overdoing anything. And the film had the cinematic quality of successful movies; this capability to be memorable in a genuine and creative way, the unavoidable iconic pottery scene with "Unchained Melody" probably earned the film its ticket for immortality.
Not to mention the powerful ending, which, after the death of Patrick Swayze, had the bittersweet feeling of a sad premonition.
The movie "Ghost", when it came out, was extremely popular, and for good reason. The story was far from what could have been a very cliché plot. I like to think of it as "A Christmas Carol" meets John Grisham novel. The romance in the movie was well played and very touching. Even though this movie may have some spiritual content that Christian's may not agree with, it does express the relationship between good and evil in and out of this world and touches upon spiritual warfare with demons and angels. Heaven and hell are both shown in detail, but it makes it look like if you do good things you go to heaven, and vice versa. I believe that this is not the case in my faith, that all you have to do is accept Jesus into your heart; but even so people of all religions should enjoy this movie. The suspense and action did not disappoint. The real star of this movie was Whoopi Goldberg, who stole every one of her scenes with her bold and loud presence, personality, and humor; she well deserved her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as Oda Mae Brown. She wasn't the only actor who did exceptionally well though; Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Tony Goldwyn made a fantastic ensemble. Swayze and Moore had beautiful chemistry together with the memorable pottery scene. The whole movie works as a whole and it great entertainment, one of my favorites. **8/10**
*** (out of 4)
After being murdered, a man's spirit (Patrick Swayze) remains on Earth to look after his fiancé (Demi Moore) as well as try and find out why he was killed. The only one who can see him is a fake future teller (Whoopi Goldberg) who reluctantly agrees to help his cause. It's easy to see why GHOST made so much money when it was originally released and why it remains so popular to this day. No, it's not a CITIZEN KANE and it's not a film that's ground-breaking but in regards to pure entertainment it pretty much delivers on all levels. Yes the story is fairly simple but it allows for some great performances, good direction and several very memorable scenes, which is more than enough for a film like this. There's no doubt that the film wouldn't have been as strong had it not been for the terrific cast with all of them fitting their roles perfectly. Swayze offers up one of his best performances as he has to hit several emotional levels throughout the picture and he does it with ease. It's very easy to connect with him and this allows you to care about what's going on and want to see him get his revenge as well as protect the one he loves. I think Moore gets the least flashy character in the film but she still makes a very good love target and there's no question that she's got a rich chemistry with Swayze. The same is true for Goldberg who shines in her Oscar-winning performance. She certainly brings this serious film a lot of needed comic relief and there's really no one else that could have done this part so well. Tony Goldwyn is perfect as the sleazy villain and there's no doubt that he deserved a lot more attention and credit for making the film as good as it is. Everyone remembers the Unchained Melody love sequence and it's certainly a very memorable but there are other great scenes scattered throughout the picture. GHOST isn't a masterpiece but it's about as good as you could hope in a film like it. Director Jerry Zucker deserves a lot of credit for being able to mix up the drama, romance and comedy as well as he did.
I love this movie,the late Patrick Swayze made a very sexy ghost.It is very hard to watch this movie with out crying. Now that he has passed away it is even harder to watch.This is one of the best love stories I have seen.Demi Moore was very good in this movie. The two of them worked very well together,they made me think that;they were really in love.Woopi was very funny in this movie,she made me believe that she could hear ghosts.Tony,did a good job playing both sides of the coin. That is my mom's take on this classic romantic movie. I too love this movie, it made me laugh , cry and feel angry. All true signs of a really good movie! It was sad before but now I can't watch without breaking into tears. From beginning to end, but beside the tragedy . And sadness, it is still the best romantic movie of all time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ghost is a commercially successfully movie that features Patrick
Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg together with Tony Goldwyn,Rick
Aviles, Stephen Root, and Vincent Schiavelli.Blending comedy, romance,
action, and horror, Ghost was a box-office smash and managed to garner
five Academy Award nominations, including "Best Picture," "Best
Supporting Actress" (Goldberg), "Best Original Screenplay," "Best
Editing," and "Best Score"; Goldberg won her first Oscar. It was
written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker.
The plot involves an interesting hybrid of popular film genres as it showcases the talents of its entire cast. While out on the town one evening, New York couple Sam and Molly are confronted by a mugger. After submitting to his demands, Sam is murdered anyway. He then finds himself a disembodied spirit, invisible to the living world, wandering without hope until he finds a spiteful spirit aboard the subway who gives him some helpful pointers on how to co-exist. Soon Sam comes back into contact with those he knew in life, and he begins to learn piece-by- piece of his close friend and co-worker Carl's embezzling plot which caused his death; the apparent mugging was, in fact, a premeditated murder. In the meantime, Carl has designs on Molly, and Sam is determined to extract revenge. He contacts a psychic, and together, the two set out to serve justice and stop the maniacal Carl from getting to Molly.
This is a timeless romantic film that also relies on the supernatural aside from its many genres to entertain that viewers particularly the lovers and hopeless romantics.It maybe corny and superficial but nevertheless,it contains some nice ideas and nice whole moments at a time, succeeds in evoking the mysteries that the the screenplay deals with.The cast succeeds quite nicely in unifying the movie's multiple personalities especially the leads - Swayze,Moore and Goldberg - that generates a lot of interest from beginning to end.But despite of its somewhat predictable and formulaic plot,the movie succeeds due to the sincerity rarely evoked by the movie and the way it manages to please the viewer.
I have watched lots of movies from every type and category - from horror to romance. And, at least for me, I can truly say that this is the perfect movie. This movie is the most complete movie I ever watched: it has a true and powerful romance story that is perfectly combine with a thriller, horror, sf, comedy layers. So indeed it is a complete movie. The acting is impressive and the 2 main characters played by Demi and Patrick are perfectly played and really convincing in the way they portray the roles. I really enjoyed the movie and I saw it for more than 10 times because it really makes me fell well. I would recommend it to any one who wants to fell something while watching a movie.
Ghost is the latest of a dozen or so films that I have come to
appreciate much more over time. I had seen it a few times in the '90s
and liked it, but not on the level of yesterday's viewing. Every film
is a world unto itself, and generally speaking, the more interesting
the world, the better the film. I like the world of Ghost. I like the
treatment of the supernatural. The denial thereof and other character
annoyances can be rationalized away quite satisfactorily. I would,
however, prefer a more restrained Whoopi Goldberg, who is a little out
of control for the sake of humor. It is something of a comedy after
The special effects hold up very well. Maurice Jarre's score hits the mark (no surprise there). Jerry Zucker directs very competently. Bruce Joel Rubin won the Oscar for his marvelous original screenplay. Demi Moore is a must for Molly. Likewise for Patrick Swayze as Sam. His regrettable and untimely death adds to the mystique.
Only a 6.9 on this site, but nothing talks like money with over a half-billion dollars worldwide. If you last saw Ghost many years ago and thought it good, not great, I suggest you rewatch it. It quite touched me, and may do you as well.
The film blends some divergent genre styles, and mostly succeeds. Where
the film goes wrong is in too much ambition to be all things to all
people, and in so doing, diminishes its own viability. The entire Oda
Mae charlatan/psychic side line is distracting; Whoopi Goldberg plays
her comic relief part way over the top, and draws far too much
attention to herself. Somebody must have thought "Believers in the
paranormal will like this, but let's pander to the skeptics by letting
them laugh at it, and then they'll like it too." However, the
self-jabbing sequence is executed awkwardly. This leaves the film with
a confused identity, lost somewhere in a void between 6th Sense and
Patrick Swayze plays his part well, except in scenes with Whoopi, where he gets oddly comedic. This makes her the focus, even though the tragic circumstances of his murder parting him forever from his love should be the cornerstone of the story. Demi Moore's acting is better than it usually is, but what's up with that hair of hers? She looks like she's going trick-or-treating as Ringo Starr. Most of the remaining cast are pretty decent, except for the dead souls that haunt Whoopi. They were just annoying.
The plot develops well, and the memorably haunting "Unchained Melody" theme was the perfect choice. The eerie black shadow creatures, with their shrill howling and blindly malevolent behavior, were suitably demonic in their design. The murder mystery and suspenseful danger to an innocent person is skillfully done.
Oda Mae should have been left on the cutting room floor. Otherwise, this film succeeds pretty well in its unusual genre-mixing approach.
Although it might sound like a cliché phrase, I feel that "Ghost" is a
film that has something for everyone in it. Such a combination of
fantasy, romance, thrills, drama, and comedy would be risky in many
other films, but it works very well here. The film involves Sam
(Patrick Swayze), a man who is murdered on the streets and, as a ghost,
discovers that the man who killed him also plan to kill his girlfriend
(Demi Moore) and rob the bank at which he worked. He attempts to
communicate with a psychic (Whoopi Goldberg, Oscar-winner for this
role) and get her to warn his girlfriend. The main plot is a fantasy by
nature, though the cross-genres are very evident here. It is a very
romantic film, and I believe that Swayze and Moore have some of the
greatest on-screen chemistry I've ever seen. There are thrilling scenes
involving fights for those who like action movies. The film is also
decently funny at times, mostly thanks to wisecracks and situations by
Whoopi Goldberg. I have never professed to be a fan of Goldberg, but
this role was completely enjoyable and made the whole film even more
worthwhile. It takes about 30 minutes for the film to really get going,
and some parts can be somewhat bizarre, but hold on. The rest of the
film is excellent in just about every way. This is an all-time
favorite, and I believe everyone can find some aspect of the film they
***1/2 out of ****
Sam Wheat is killed during a botched mugging but his spirit is stuck in
spirit world limbo. Watching over his left behind lover, Molly, it
becomes clear that there is far more to his killing than it at first
seemed. Enlisting the help of kooky psychic Oda Mae Brown, Sam must
protect the now in danger Molly whilst simultaneously getting to the
bottom of his murder.
Ghost is a multi genre offering, not just purely a romantic weepy that its detractors would have you believe. Romance, fantasy, mystery, thriller, comedy and no little bit of spooky shenanigans all fuse together to form Jerry Zucker's monster box office smash of 1990. Made for $22 million, it has gone on to make a staggering $517 million worldwide, proof positive that the public by and large will buy into a simple story as long as it's put together well with the afore mentioned elements. The central theme of true love reaching from beyond the grave to prove itself eternal is something that most folk find endearing in a non sickly kind of way, with it naturally helped by having a cast list firing on all cylinders.
Tho Jerry Zucker's (Airplane/Top Secret) direction is uneven, it's to be expected when this is after all his first solo feature, he is however well served by his stars. Patrick Swayze wasn't wanted for the part of Sam Wheat, but he fought tooth and nail for the project and nailed the role with gusto and emotionally driven force. Demi Moore as Molly was never lovelier, trimmed short hair to reveal a gorgeous young face, her feeding off of Swayze's energy provides the film with its credible impetus. Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae turns in an Oscar winning performance, wonderfully funny, yet also at times sympathetic without over stretching the essence of the piece, while Tony Goldwyn and Vincent Schiavelli also provide two memorable (for the right reasons) performances. The effects work of course looks amazing for its time, none more so when the dark side of death is fully realised via shadows in the films most creepy moments, whilst the editing (Walter Murch) and screenplay (Oscar winning by Bruce Rubin) is from the top draw.
So yes it's safe to say that me, a butch middle aged bloke, is personally a fan of Ghost, there's a little bit of corn in there, especially in one particular dance sequence, but mainly the film is a pure delight. Helped by Maurice Jarre's hauntingly sweet score and boosted by the use of the magnificent Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers, Ghost is a film to revel in if you are prepared to let it get deep inside of you. 8/10
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