A gentle comedy which could have been integrated in the romantic fantasy genre along with classics such as Angel on My Shoulder and Here Comes Mr. Jordan, the script obviously held material that was too abundant for one single feature film.
Mike Shea (Timothy Hutton) is a nice smalltown boy who dies and goes to heaven. There he is introduced to eternal life by his long deceased aunt Lisa (Maureen Stapleton), he meets the solicitous Annie (Kelly McGillis), a beautiful guide with whom he falls in love, and finally encounters Emmett (Debra Winger), the strange person who is not God but is in charge of seeing that everything proceeds smoothly, as ordained.
Before Mike and Annie can establish a valid union, she is sent to do her stint on Earth. He begs Emmett to let him go back as well and is granted 30 years to find his love again down below.
The nature of the story invites obviously all sorts of religious and philosophical speculations, which are pretty much ignored here, even on the narrative level.
If Hutton and McGillis are likeable, it is mostly through their own personalities that this quality comes out.
Ellen Barkin plays a hellcat who almost deprives Hutton’s character of his pure innocence, but she refused a credit. Winger, Hutton’s spouse, assumed the part of Emmett on condition that it be kept a secret.