Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Thriller
Running Time: 2 hrs. 7 min.
Release Date: July 13, 1990 (Theatrical), December 30th, 2008 (Blu-ray)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Jerry Zucker
Actors: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn, Stanley Lawrence
"Even Demi Moore’s frightful haircut can’t hinder the entertainment value of this highly original contemporary classic."
The idea of a good ghost romantically haunting his true love is infinitely more fascinating than the questionable execution in Jerry Zucker’s Academy Award-winning film Ghost. However, with plenty of comedy from a scene-stealing Whoopi Goldberg, enchanting moments of passion and the always appealing revenge theme, this clever drama is definitely worth the time, even if the special effects are noticeably dated and the suspension of disbelief isn’t always sustained.

Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) and the love of his life Molly (Demi Moore) are enjoying moving into an enormous new home where she can house her exhibit-worthy sculptures and he can relax in his sore-thumb armchair. But just as they’re getting comfortable, Sam is killed in an alley on the way home from a New York play. Molly is mortified and stricken with grief – but Sam’s ghost isn’t about to let her go.

Stuck in a form of purgatory in which he can still see the living, Sam sets out to solve his own murder while protecting Molly from the evils of the crafty money-laundering scheme that brought about his demise. While his best friend Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn) is mixed up in the crime, Sam desperately tries to enlist the help of spiritual adviser Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) for human communication – a skeptical scam artist who seems to be the only one (with “the gift”) who can actually hear him.

Although Ghost quickly distracts us with lovey-dovey banter and the unforgettably famous, oft-parodied clay-sculpting love scene (which is so erotically charged that the PG-13 rating can’t suppress the XXX vibe), there’s a morose preoccupation with death and plenty of foreshadowing to alert us of the events to follow. Sam’s transition into the world of ghosts isn’t perfect, but it’s cleverly disguised with a partial nightmare/dream sequence and out-of-body experience that doesn’t trample on the suspension of disbelief. Even the conclusion, which leads to more questions than solutions, doesn’t detract from the heartfelt love story at the heart of it all.

Despite the pushy influences of good and evil, heaven and hell, and the questionable role of pseudo-purgatory, Ghost essentially works. With amusing sequences of learning to be an effective spirit (walking through doors and upsetting cats), hilarious comic-relief from Whoopi Goldberg (who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her part) and convincing romance from the two leads, even Demi Moore’s frightful haircut can’t hinder the entertainment value of this highly original contemporary classic.

- Mike Massie

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