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Pleasing ghostly experience.
on March 3, 2001
A picture-perfect modern-day romance that tells an exciting romantic story, "Ghost" is one of the best romantic films ever made. In it, we see just what lengths someone will go to for their love for someone else, and also shows us that the love we have for someone in our life goes on after death. Director Jerry Zucker, and acting by Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, all make this movie a landmark that everybody knows about.
What is so special about the story is the connection between the two romantic leads. Swayze plays Sam Wheat, who, with his longtime girlfriend Molly, is remodeling a penthouse apartment in New York, where they soon live together, completely happy and in love. We have no reason to question the love story angle because the direction and acting tell us from the very beginning the nature of their relationship, and does it in understandable terms. Sam also works for a major banking corporation, where he has a best friend Carl, who seems more than willing to take certain workloads off of Sam's shoulders. One night, Sam and Molly are set upon by a thief, who demands Sam's wallet, and after a struggle, Sam is left with a fatal gunshot wound. Of course, being dead, he is now a ghost, and must watch as Molly comes to the realization that her lover is dead.
The acting of these two actors is what makes all of this incredibly affecting, most especially Molly's coping with Sam's sudden exit from her life. She keeps his personal things, as well as any little scrap of paper or memory she can hold onto, with Sam watching all of this from behind her shoulder and Carl trying his best to comfort and console her. Sam soon pays a visit to a con artist medium named Otta Mae Brown, played by Whoopi Goldberg, who is the only person that Sam is able to talk to. The comedy of the movie really picks up as we are given scenes of Brown walking in the streets arguing with the air, talking to the walls, and having hissy fits with Sam in public. Goldberg is really given a chance to shine in this role, playing out some of her best lines and material ever.
Comedy then mixes with drama and action as the plot reveals that Carl was a mastermind behind a murder conspiracy. Carl is in desperate need of money, and when he found out that Sam was in charge of a four million dollar bank account, he hired a hitman to have Sam killed in order to try and take over the account and steal the money. As he further tries to worm his way into Molly's life, Sam becomes more and more determined to try and find a way of reaching her aside from giving Otta Mae instructions on what to say to her. Swayze is able to give us a powerhouse performance here, as his character sits back and can do nothing to physically protect his love. He feels weak, helpless, and these emotions are played out brilliantly.
The film won an Academy Award, one of two, for Best Original Screenplay for 1990. The script is a melting pot of many different elements: comedy that comes from the relationship of Otta Mae and Sam's collaboration, supernatural elements stemming from the ghost angle, thriller techniques that reside in the mystery of Sam's death and Carl's intentions, and most important, the love story that Molly and Sam live out, which serves as the basis for everything that happens. It has a little bit of everything for everyone, which gave diverse audiences what they wanted and made it a sheer success among people.
Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze both give excellent performances that keep the love story going. They both have a chemistry that never stops or staggers the film, but keeps it going. Whoopi Goldberg is Otta Mae Brown, a role she was born to play and for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her comic genius and diverse areas of acting play a major role, and sometimes become the heart of the film. Tony Goldwyn plays the conniving Carl, and does so effectively. He is one of those few people in a movie that the audience can truly despise for his crimes, and when the ending comes, it is pure satisfaction to watch him get what's coming to him.
"Ghost" is nothing short of a successful movie, keeping us enthralled with comedic, romantic and thrilling elements, making us believe in things beyond this world. It never stops moving, it is utterly original, and it keeps us at the edge of our seats as well as tugging at our hearts.