This sharply scripted study of a bereaved woman who literally wishes her partner back from the grave is an impressive directorial bow by British playwright Anthony Minghella. Despite surface similarities with Ghost pic has a different feel and theme.
Nina (Juliet Stevenson) is still cut up about losing her longtime partner, virtuoso cellist Jamie (Alan Rickman). She still feels his presence in her tiny London flat, where plumbing’s gone bananas and rats are moving in.
One day, while she’s doodling at the piano, Jamie literally reappears and thereon it’s a matter of reliving their idyllic relationship until it’s time for both to move on – he to a higher plane, she to a growing friendship with young social worker Mark (Michael Maloney) who can give her the child Jamie never wanted.
Sans special effects, pic manages to suspend belief through fine ensemble playing and sheer strength of the main performances. It’s Stevenson’s movie through and through (project was in the works for some years and was penned for her), and although she sometimes overdoes the histrionics, as in scenes with her shrink, it’s a tour de force of sustained playing. Rickman gives subtle support, with a nice line in po-faced comedy.
[Pic was reviewed in original 16mm version premiered at 1990 London Film Festival as Cello. For 35mm theatrical release, and subsequent TV airing, title was changed to Truly Madly Deeply.]