My Movie Monday
Ghost ------ 1990 (on my 21 to 50 favorite film list)
One has to give up reality to love this film. And I do!
But what is unreality? Many of the fantasy/super hero films of today dismiss reality. But what do they bring to the movie. Endless cliches, violence, super villains, unrealistic confrontations! "Ghost" is an incredibly personal film about two people, Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, with the problem of communicating their feelings for each other. Swayze dies and before his absolute farewell at the end of this film, his love for his partner is displayed, confirmed and deepened. Sure the whole conception of ghosts in this movie is made up, but it is just a device to tell of the love between these two people. Between this device, the acting, the music and the special effects, it grabs my emotions every time I watch it. What about my favorite movie component, the music?
The crucial musical scene begins. The Juke-box in Moore's and Swayze's New York city loft stops playing one song. The mechanism is shown changing the 45rpm record. The Righteous Brother's "Unchained Melody" starts to play softly. It's the middle of the night and in a nightgown Demi Moore is busy crafting a vase on her pottery wheel. A sleepy Patrick Swayze joins her, concerned that she is up so late. He sits behind her and inadvertently ruins the clay vessel she was working on, then starts to become affectionate with her. This, combined with the song increasing in volume and becoming stereophonic, the necking becomes much more intense and the viewer can see their relationship is truly one of passionate love. The scene becomes quite physical and ends with the music coming to an end and a close-up of the juke-box showing the stylus arm lift off the record. This was a pivotal moment in this movie for me. Between the power of the song and the passion of the two characters, it made me care intensely for these two protagonists!
The Swayze character after his death resides in a half-way world, caught between life and what the film implies is an afterlife. This movie could have become just another ghost story with scary and spooky scenes. But because of the love between the two major characters and Swayze's concern for Moore, it becomes very personal.
This intense emotion might have overwhelmed this film, maybe even to the point of making it difficult to watch. However, clever plot elements leaven the movie as well as the comic element of Whoopi Goldberg's character. Whoopi Goldberg won a well deserved supporting Academy Award for her performance and other wonderful actors enhanced all the many elements of this film. However the love between the two main characters is what stays in my memory. For me, this is what "Ghost" was about.
Patrick Swayze ------ Sam Wheat
Demi Moore ------ Molly Jensen
Whoopi Goldberg ------ Oda Mae Brown
Tony Goldwyn ------ Carl Bruner
Rick Aviles ______ Willie Lopez
Phil Leeds ------ emergency room ghost
Vincent Schiavelli ------ subway ghost
Stephen Root ------ police sergeant