Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance
Directed By: Jerry Zucker
Written By: Bruce Joel Rubin
Released: July 13th, 1990
Runtime: 126 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Happy couple, Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore), are walking back to their new apartment one night when they encounter a thief in a dark alley and Sam is murdered. He quickly realises that he is now a ghost, and learns that his death was no accident. He must find a way of saving Molly from a similar fate, but as a ghost such a task is not that easy as he can’t be heard nor seen by the living. He soon comes across a “pretend” psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), who quickly realises her “powers” are not so fake after all...
I always forget how much I adore this film. It never gets old. It’s just got the whole package – drama, romance, thriller, comedy, mystery, suspense – everything you could possibly want in a movie!! I think it’s the only film where I can literally say I was at the edge of my seat during the first viewing!
This is such a well written film. The plot is developed and executed brilliantly, from the pace, dropping of subtle hints, and character progression. What sets this film apart from other “ghost stories” is the fact it’s told through the point of view of the ghost, knowing that he’s a ghost! Sam is gradually learning how to master the art of being a ghost with the help of other ghosts he stumbles upon along the way. I like the inclusion of such detail around this.
The cast is spot on. Whoopi Goldberg is just so, so excellent in the role of Oda Mae Brown. Her character is quite humorous and has her own individual journey. Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, and Tony Goldwyn as traitor Carl, are all fantastic in their roles too.
I think my favourite scene would have to be when Sam persuades Oda Mae to impersonate the owner of Carl’s fake bank account, close it, and reluctantly give $4 million to a homeless shelter. The continuous bickering between Oda Mae and Sam are just very amusing, and Whoopi Goldberg’s expressions are simply priceless – particularly in the moment where she can’t quite manage to bring herself to let go of the cashier’s check! Fantastic acting. She's hysterical throughout the whole thing. In any scene she's in, laughs are a plenty.
The scene which follows this is another of my favourites as Carl realises the account is empty. Sam has fun taunting him by moving objects and making accusations appear on his computer screen, repeatedly typing “MURDERER” and “SAM”.
What I will say as a warning to all who haven’t yet seen the film – IGNORE THE POSTER, IGNORE THE DVD COVER. So many of my friends have been put off viewing this film because of the misleading image chosen. The friends who then view the film are so blown away by it and all agree that, a) how good the film really is, and b) that cover has absolutely no relevance to the plot in any way and can’t understand why it was used. So, I implore you to just watch it without judging the cover. Very important.
Whenever people think of this film as well, they automatically think of the pottery scene. That moment has been parodied in every manner possible I reckon at this stage. In all honesty it’s way, way down on the list of the film’s best scenes in my opinion, and a lot of my friends’ opinions as well. I often wonder if people mislead the film as being overly sappy because of this one scene being so famous. Fair enough, the film does have its sappy moments (it’s a romantic story after all) but it’s so much more than that. The sappiness is only a tiny aspect. There is something for everyone. I have yet to come across a person to say to me after viewing it that they didn’t like it.
I actually cannot stress how excellent this is. You won’t regret the experience. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cheer, you'll have the hair stand on the back of your neck. Amazing film. I just wish I could experience it for the first time all over again.