Restless Spirits (TV Movie 1999) Poster

(1999 TV Movie)

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Nice Family Film
aimless-4614 December 2005
David Wellington's award winning "Restless Spirits" is a family film much on the order of "The Boy Who Could Fly" and "Fly Away Home". The restless spirits belong to an actual pair of 1927 French aviators who aviation historians believe made a successful transatlantic flight two weeks before Charles Lindbergh did in May, 1927. Their names were Charles Nungesser & Francois Coli (humorously played by Lothaire Bluteau & Michel Monty) and the prevailing theory is that they crashed in a isolated area of Newfoundland.

These two ghosts are tangible and approachable, even friendly although Nungesser works hard to give an unpleasant impression. Adults looking for gore, scares, and atmosphere will be disappointed although the film does succeed at developing a decent amount of tension.

Juliana Wimbles does a nice job as Katie, a twelve-year-old who has not yet accepted the death of her test pilot father and whose mother has parked her and her younger brother at their paternal grandmothers while playing around in Europe with a new romantic interest. Marsha Mason plays the grandmother who has had little contact with the two children prior to this visit. She happens to live near a haunted pond and in the tradition of "Sixth Sense" Katie soon discovers that only she and her brother can see the ghosts.

Because of her father's occupation Katie has a natural bond with the two French aviators and figures out why they have not passed on. In 1927 they became lost in the fog and crashed into the pond, on foggy days they must repeat the events that led to their deaths. Katie enlists the help of Andy (Ben Cook), a young neighbor who has a crush on her. They work to restore the wrecked plane so the ghosts can finally escape the pond. Suspense is generated by the interference of Andy's nasty sister, and by the competition of two archaeologists who are trying to unravel the mystery of the doomed flight.

In the process Katie is able to finally come to terms with the loss of her father. She gains an understanding of death from the disparate reactions of the two aviator's to their ghostly situation. Nungesser, the pilot, is upset about losing out on the fame of the first transatlantic crossing and embarrassed at crashing. Coli, the navigator/mechanic is crushed by the realization that he will never see his family again. Katie begins to understand that her father was a mix of these two sets of motivations. Pay attention to Katie's interactions with the two aviators because it is in this substitute father/daughter dynamic that the film transcends the ordinary ghost story.

This is a well scripted and pleasant film with a very original premise that the whole family should enjoy, but don't expect shock and horror.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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A Beautiful Family Film
teuthis27 December 2002
Juliana Wimbles just steals this entire film. She is so compelling as a young girl trying to cope with the death of her father and the impending re-marriage of her mother. Her acting was studied, consistent and skilled at a level far beyond her age and experience. The rest of the cast is solid and entertaining too. The boy who helps her is also a capable, young actor; and enjoyable to watch. Both of the "French Ghost Pilots" were excellent characters. I thoroughly enjoyed them. But Juliana out-shines them all.

The element of the "Ghost Pilots" is a scintillating vehicle on which to hang the supernatural theme of the film; and to develop the character of a determined little girl. How she is able to resolve the issues facing her in life, and help the pilots reach their own destiny, makes for a thoroughly entertaining film. I can only offer praise for a film with a strong plot and development, no foul language and no real violence. It is dramatic, humorous, and intriguing; from start to finish.
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joyful movie for the whole family
koolbrew10 February 2002
If you want a break from all the sex and violence in most modern day movies, if you want to see a NICE story, if you want to feel good inside. then this is the movie for you. The premise may be far-fetched, but watch it with the kids and you'll all be smiling when it's over, and maybe wiping away a feel-good tear.
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Good movie
Rose-354 October 1999
This is a good movie to watch with family. Lothaire Bluteau & Michel Monty give good performances as the doomed aviators. Great performances by all.. Right now I think it's just being aired on Showtime as "Restless Spirits" so if you see it on, give it a chance, it's good.
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Superior Film, Particularly For Young Girls
Niro10 September 1999
I saw this as "Restless Spirits"...

And no, it has nothing to do with "Groundhog Day."

It involves a 12-year-old girl whose test-pilot father died in a crash a few years back and her kind-but-harried mother has moved on with her life, having fallen in love with another man.

While mom goes off to determine whether the romance is worth pursuing, the daughter is left with a relative (well-played by the versatile Marsha Mason)in seaside Newfoundland.

Some local girls let her in on a secret pond which (legend has it), when the fog rolls in, occasionally becomes haunted.

This leads to an imaginative series of mostly wonderful life-changing adventures for the young woman.

I loved this film.

4 of 4
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Lovely film about learning to let go
akmarzik23 October 2004
I loved this film although I'm not a young girl.

I think quite a few people have difficulties in letting go.

This film tells the story of a twelve-year-old girl who learns to live with the untimely death of her pilot father through meeting two ghost pilots and helping them. On the way she also meets typical adolescent problems (conflicts with her mother and grandmother, other jealous? girls who try to sabotage her plans, a boy who might later on fall in love with her), makes mistakes and learns how to cope with them.

Just a lovely film about growing up and letting go.
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Another take on Bill Murray's "Groundhog Day."
Don-622 August 1999
Shown on Showtime as "Restless Spirits," this is a fine tale of a pair of aviators flying from France to Newfoundland trying to be the first to cross the Atlantic. They crash in an odd fog and every time that fog reappears they crash again with no memory of the previous crashes.

At the time of the story it is sixty years later and they don't know that Lindbergh won the prize for the first crossing and they don't know they are ghosts.

The protagonist is the 12-year-old Juliana Wimbles playing Katie who finds them and figures out both their problem and the solution while they help her come to terms with her father's death in a test plane crash and with her mother's new romance.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and expect to view it over and over just as I see such similar movies as "Groundhog Day," "Somewhere in Time," and "Time at the Top" over and over.
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Accomplishes what it sets out to do.
windupatheist15 August 2002
This movie wasn't put together to win an Oscar, or profoundly move anyone, or blow anybody away with special effects. It's a low-budget "family" type film that succeeds in it's modest goals. The performances won't leave you stunned, but they're certainly not terrible either. The plot isn't revolutionary, but it is fairly novel. What few special effects there are don't amaze, but they don't make you groan either. Altogether, a fairly forgettable but nevertheless likable production.
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Learned something new
trygolyte21 November 2012
First let me say that I really liked the film. Splendid acting, and a ghost story as good as this one is very rare.

It's interesting to note that when a movie is done as well as this one, it is perfectly possible to suspend belief and accept things like an aircraft that has been submerged in water for over sixty some years could be repaired and flown within a matter of days.

And I did learn something from the movie - that the plane that Nungesser and Coli flew was a classic Stearman Model 75. How they ever stuffed enough fuel into that one to get across the Atlantic is quite beyond me.

This is a problem with being an aviation buff. I always pick up on stuff like this.

CGI would have helped a lot here. But it was still a great movie, anyway!
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