Heart and Souls (1993)
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If you can just ignore the typically off-the-wall Hollywood version of death and heaven and just enjoy the wonderfully-sentimental and humorous fantasy- romance-drama story, you'll be very entertained.
The story is nicely told, entertaining start-to-finish in its 103 minutes. It really takes off after Robert Downey Jr. has become an adult and the "spirits" return to him.
As much humor as in here, in addition to fantasy and drama, the final 15-20 minutes are tear-jerking.
The 4 scenarios are beautiful expressions of love and kindness, and although disrupting the young man's (love) life immensely, in the end he too is richer from the turbulence's. -- This is a wonderful fantasy, a big winner with romantic movie lovers. I have watched this film several times and will enjoy it again and again. The widescreen DVD version is particularly enjoyable. This is a sparkling gem of a movie!
The plots soars and soars and finally settles firmly in rediscovery. The four lost souls drift about not knowing their purpose though firmly tied to RDJ but they are without cause when they finally discover their unfulfilled purpose, they manage to use their their one earthly link to try and accomplish all they had unfinished on earth.
Robert Downey Jnr sails ahead of the story and cast and it takes the wit, earthiness, sass and charm of Sizemore,Grodin,Woodward and Sedgwick respectively to keep up with him which they do without dominating or underplaying their roles.
The underlying themes of repentance for Sizemore, personal victory for Grodin, rediscovery & bonding for Woodward and self forgiveness and sacrifice for Sedgwick are beautifully visited so much so that you're unaware of the depth till the the credits start rolling.
The final scene was a fitting climax for this simple but deeply stirring movie.
Never leave till tomorrow what you may able to do today,always live your dreams and follow your destiny but do so with your feet terra firma!!!
Hearts And Souls scores soundly : 9/10
Thirty and something years later, Hal returns with his bus to take them four and the quartet learns that they had all those years to resolve the issues of their lives. They ask Hal to stall and give some more time for them to resolve their unfinished lives and they decide to come back to Thomas (Robert Downey Jr.), who is now a tough businessman and indecisive in his relationship with girlfriend Anne (Elisabeth Shue), and ask him to help them to resolve their issues and become free souls. In the end, Thomas also becomes a better man.
"Heart and Souls" is one of the most adorable films of the 90's. The writer uses the central idea of the successful "Ghost" (1990) to make a witty and delightful comedy, with state-of-art special effects in 1993.
Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Sizemore, Alfre Woodard, Charles Grodin and Robert Downey Jr. show an amazing chemistry and they really seem to have fun while shooting this film. Kyra Sedgwick shows a beautiful smile and Robert Downey Jr. is hilarious. The cameo of B.B. King is a plus that gives the status of cult to this film. The message in the end is very nice and I do not recall how many times I have seen "Heart and Souls" on VHS in the 90's. Yesterday I saw it on DVD for the first time and I only regret that there are no extras, only the film. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Morrendo e Aprendendo" ("Dying and Learning")
Robert Downey, Jr. plays a young man whose life is going very well: he's engaged to Elisabeth Shue, he's got a lot of money working as a lawyer or such...until some old friends of his drop in--imaginary friends, that is. Sort of. Dead imaginary friends that only he can see.
Many years ago, some people boarded a bus, including Charles Grodin and Tom Sizemore. The bus flipped over a bridge and everyone died, going to heaven. But then they came back down involuntarily to Downey as a child and stayed with him for a few years. Every time they tried to leave him, they were pulled back to him. Until he was about eight, then they somehow managed to leave because they were influencing his schoolwork and life (I don't remember how they got out of it). Now they're back to haunt him again, because they need him to help get to heaven.
I haven't seen this movie in a few years, so I'm a bit rusty on the plot summary, but I remember that I found it enjoyable and sweet. There aren't any big complexities here, just some good old fashioned fun.
Robert Downey, Jr. is convincing in his role, as is the rest of the cast. I've liked Charles Grodin and Tom Sizemore for quite some time, and they got to show off their talent here. Too bad Grodin left the showbiz scene, because I really did enjoy him in films. He wasn't over the top of crazy: he seemed very normal, and played very normal characters ("Beethoven," "Midnight Run").
I think that this is the perfect example of romantic comedies that have both wit and respect for the audience. In a time of cheap teen flicks and so-called romantic comedies, the rare FUNNY romantic comedy that comes along is usually very good ("When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," "While You Were Sleeping," "As Good as it Gets," etc.). While "Heart and Souls" isn't a great romantic comedy, it's above average, and definitely recommendable.
I admit that I am an admirer of Downey. He is one of our few actors that can do what I call folded acting: a self-awareness that communicates itself. This is just a kind of language of mental mathematics — one that I believe makes people more susceptible to addictive behavior. This film was done right after the rather amazing "Chaplin," but before it was released. I think it is pretty effective writing and I will recommend it on that score.
But there are two scenes that really worked for me. One is the setup, the other the payoff.
The setup is the six year old Downey sings in the bathroom with his four ghost friends. It is 1965 and we are singing "walk like a man," already an iconic song. The walls reverberate like schoolboy toilet walls do — or used to when they were 100% tile and urinals were lined up. It has energy. The boy actor is terrific. The joke at the time is a nun looks in and sees and hears only the boy. Mildly funny. Mildly endearing.
Now move forward to later when the adult Downey re-encounters the ghosts. He has just done something companionable and likes hanging out. They are crossing Post street in San Francisco — a regular street. They break out into this song. The whole thing lasts only a minute or so before being interrupted by an iconic bus to heaven. But watch the ensemble do their strutting to the song, just as if they were still stuck in 1963, when the song appeared... except for Downey. Look at what he does here, hands in pockets singing the lead. When I saw this in 1993, I knew this man would be important. This 20 or 30 seconds.
It is because the context is all about inhabiting bodies and carrying selves. He does the "oh gosh, now I'm someone else," bit with awareness of both beings. In this scene, he is three persons: the child, the adult, the actor. He spoke about this at the time. Here you can see virtually everything he brought to "Tropic Thunder."
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
We then meet Penny (Alfre Woodard; The Forgotten), a mom, struggling to find time to spend valued time with her kids between working. Following Penny is Julie (Kyra Sedgwick; "The Closer") who is working as a waitress but desperately loves her boyfriend, but passes on the chance to run away with him.
Harrison gets stage fright in his audition, Penny goes off for work, and Julie goes after her boyfriend to tell him that she is on board. They all get on the same bus, as we are introduced to Milo. Milo (Tom Sizemore: Saving Private Ryan), has stolen a kids stamps and got $50 for them, but at the thought of being a bad guy, Milo tries to steal them back. Milo fails and resorts to taking the bus along with Julie, Penny, and Harrison.
The driver of the bus gets distracted and runs off the road and kills himself and all 4 passengers. When they rise above as souls, they are dragged to the new born baby, Thomas Riley. For 7 years, they hang with Thomas, but have no idea why. When his parents and social workers believe Thomas has mental problems, they go invisible on the kid.
30 years pass and Thomas (Robert Downey Jr.; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) is a grown man. Finally, the bus driver comes down to get them. When he arrives, the 4 souls aren't too happy to see him. He tells them what they were supposed to do. Using Thomas to complete their unfinished lives, one-by-one they all leave.
The cast itself is A-list. And the story is simply an amazing fairy tale style. With the amount of comedy and emotion that was in this movie, if you don't laugh or cry, you may need to check yourself for a soul.
There is a large "Walk Like A Man" and "Star Spangled Banner" musical number. It's a great family film. And even if you're not a kid, you'll love it as an adult and even the teens will too.
Plus it has some really great acting and special effects. Nothing wrong about this one folks.
The interaction, alone, between the five main characters is worth seeing. The acting is superb. The comedy ranges from subtle to almost slapstick, and the production addresses your funny bone, your mind, and your heart.
This movie is a classic sleeper. Your whole family should see it!
For anyone who actually has a soul, I highly recommend this film for a feel good experience.