Alice in Movieland











{January 15, 2010}   Truly Madly Deeply (1990)

I liked this movie. It has very sad overtones to it, but it makes you think, and that, more than being smashingly entertaining, is truly the mark of a good movie. I must say, though, this is my least favorite movie in terms of Rickman’s hair (and the mustache is just silly).

It’s starts off sometime shortly after Jamie’s (Alan Rickman) death. His girlfriend Nina (Juliet Stevenson) is having difficulty moving on. Anyone would. They had been so in love and his death was so unexpected and sudden. She sits at home, playing the piano, humming the cello part that he used to play. She doesn’t go out. She’s isolating herself. Not dealing with it very well at all. Then… one day he’s back. As a ghost, of course, but Nina’s ecstatic and for a little while they’re lost in their own little world as happy as they ever were. But eventually Nina has to go back to work. It’s not a dream world where you can just stay at home with your boyfriend’s ghost all the time, now is it? And Jamie starts bringing home some of his ghosty friends. They’re not scary or anything, but they’re *ghosts*, and they’re always there… and they’ve taken over her VCR… And Nina meets someone, Mark, who’s very much alive. Spending time with him, she’s refreshed. She slowly begins to realize that you can’t live life in the past, no matter how much you loved what or who you’ve lost. Jamie’s return helped her find the closure she needed to be able to move on. Mark is there to help her live.

I didn’t care much for the Mark character myself, but that’s probably out of jealousy for Jamie. The two men are so different… and, though I fing him a bit annoying, Mark (and how different he is from Jamie) seems to be exactly what Nina needs. She’s alive again, the way she used to be with Jamie.

I understand that this movie was written partly to showcase Juliet Stevenson in a way that she wasn’t able to be seen in other parts that she’d had. Thus, we see her playing piano and being quirky, as well as demonstrating that she’s not afraid to portray some very messy emotions (such as the scene with her therapist where she expresses how angry she is that Jamie died).

I’ve filed this one under my favorites because it *is* one of those movies that touches you and changes you just a bit. You might never have thought about the long-term realities and problems of having a loved one come back as a ghost (I’m being silly), or (to be serious) the fact that clinging to the past can keep you from living in the present. This movie presents this truth in a gentle and heartfelt manner while paying tribute to how very painful letting go and moving on can be. Very good. Very good.

Find it on YouTube here, or elsewhere here.

The poem scene:

“Forgive me, if you are not living, if you, beloved, my love, if you have died, all the leaves will fall on my breast, it will rain on my soul all night, all day, my feet will want to march to where you are sleeping, but I shall go on living.” [Pablo Neruda]

Alan Rickman talks about the movie’s writer and director, Anthony Minghella, after his death.

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