Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Finding Greatness in the Shadow of a Blockbuster

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Finding Greatness in the Shadow of a Blockbuster

Article excerpt

TWO exquisite little gems grace the movie marquees of a few cities right now. If you hesitate, you might miss them. "Truly, Madly, Deeply" by British director Anthony Minghella and "Paper Wedding" directed by Canada's Michel Brault shimmer with the incandescence of authentic benevolence, true love reaffirmed.

It's easy to forget how deeply affecting a bright little film can be in the shadow of the blockbuster. The gaudier thrills of "Terminator 2" or "Robin Hood" seem coarse after "Paper Wedding" and "Truly, Madly, Deeply." Each of these films covers some of the same ground as flashier (but flatter) movies. "Truly" is to "Ghost" what "Paper Wedding" is to "Green Card." In each case, the smaller film encompasses larger and more complex emotions and reveals more than its big budget counterparts. Like "Ghost,Truly, Madly, Deeply" concerns the postmortem return of a protective lover to his bereaved. But "Ghost" has no rough edges, no psychological complexity, no deeper implications about life's choices. "Ghost" was a sweet, simplistic love story turned thriller that substituted special effects for genuine perception.

"Truly ghost is no see-through phantom. Jamie (Alan Rickman) seems very real. His return halts Nina's disabling grief and the reunion comes as a relief. But Jamie is not the same. For one thing, he's awfully cold all the time, he piles on the blankets and turns up the heat. He's bored, too - he keeps rearranging Nina's furniture while she's at work, and inviting in pallid friends. Writer-director Minghella cleverly sidesteps the cosmic questions. Jamie answers vaguely all queries about "heaven" and so on. The ghostly elements are sometimes goofy, sometimes distressing. Nevertheless, the film's message transcends the limitations of the ghost-story vehicle. At the final moment of the film, Mr. …

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