Always is a relatively small scale, engagingly casual, somewhat silly, but always entertaining fantasy.
Richard Dreyfuss charmingly inherits the lead role of a pilot returned from the dead in this remake of the 1943 Spencer Tracy pic A Guy Named Joe set among fire-fighters in national parks.
Steven Spielberg’s transposition of the fondly remembered original to the spectacularly burning Montana forests – incorporating footage shot during the devastating 1988 fires at Yellowstone National Park – is a valid equivalent, for the most part, especially since his action sequences using old World War II-era planes are far more thrilling than those of A Guy Named Joe.
Holly Hunter’s dispatcher and semi-skilled aspiring pilot, lacking the womanly grace Irene Dunne brought to the part, comes off as gawky and ditzy in the early parts of Always. Bereavement seems to visibly mature the actress, whose emotional struggle between the memory of Dreyfuss and new love Brad Johnson becomes spirited and gripping.