Movie Review: Ghost (1990)

Posted: September 2, 2016 in Comedy, Drama, Movies, Romance
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A banker named Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) is moving into a New York City apartment with his girlfriend, artist Molly Jenson, (Demi Moore) they are looking forward to a bright future together.  Sam finds some discrepancies with one of the accounts at work, and tells his friend, Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn) who offers to help, but Sam declines.  One night, after watching Macbeth, Sam is mugged by a man named Willie Lopez, (Rick Aviles) Sam is shot, and dies, but his spirit doesn’t go to heaven, he is a ghost.  He can see and hear Molly, but Molly can’t see or hear him.  Willie breaks into Sam and Molly’s apartment, and Sam is able to scare him away, and follows Willie back to his apartment, and hears Willie talking to someone about the break-in.

On the way back from Willie’s apartment, Sam sees a sign for a spiritual advisor, who can talk to the dead.  Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) is a con-artist, but she can hear Sam.  Can she help Sam communicate with Molly?  Who was Willie talking to about the break-in?  Does it have anything to do with why Sam was killed?

This movie was made in 1990, but it feels like a typical 1980’s movie. Sam’s a banker, just after the 1980’s when America was in still mostly in love with Wall Street wealth.  Sam Wheat is a good guy, unlike Gordon Gekko. Ghost is another  romance with a quirky character another trademark of the 80’s, no it’s not a mermaid or a robot girlfriend, this time, this time it’s Whoopi Goldberg as a phony spiritualist.  The romance doesn’t really work, despite the iconic pottery scene.  In my opinion, the shooting takes place too soon, the viewer doesn’t get to know this couple for long enough when they are separated. Also the romance is too physical, the viewer hears about memories they share but doesn’t get a first hand view of these memories.  It works better as a comedy in my opinion, but the comedy is too broad at times.  Somehow Ghost won a Best Screenplay Oscar in 1991, none of the elements really work, but it was a monster box-office hit, primarily because of the chemistry between Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze.

Patrick Swayze is great in this movie, and when he talks about his life being perfect and him worrying about it all being taken away, those lines have extra poignancy.  He handles the comedic scenes well, the dramatic scenes well, and the chemistry between Swayze and Moore is unmistakable.  Demi Moore doesn’t have much to do in this movie, except pine for Swayze and be skeptical of Goldberg.  Goldberg is definitely funny in this movie, but the character, a shady con-artist is pretty common in Hollywood films.  She somehow won an Oscar for this role, not for The Color Purple.  I don’t believe in make-up Oscars, but apparently, Hollywood does.  If anyone deserved an Oscar for this movie, it was Swayze.  This was a great all-around performance.

The director of Ghost is Jerry Zucker, known for the Airplane and Naked Gun films, maybe that’s why this film feels more like a comedy than a romance or a mystery. It’s a long movie, and the pacing drags at times.  Zucker gets a great performance from Swayze, and good performances from Moore and Goldberg, there’s not much else to say about the direction, despite that pottery scene, there’s nothing else that really stands out.  The ghostly special effects look cheap, and cartoonish.

Ghost: Patrick sways audiences with a great performance.


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