Ghost | Chicago Reader

Ghost

Rated PG-13 128 minutes 1990

Patrick Swayze plays a yuppie Wall Street executive in love with artist Demi Moore. He dies and as a ghost solves his own murder with the help of fake medium Whoopi Goldberg. Jerry Zucker's 1990 fantasy combines elements of Spielbergian wistfulness a la Always (a dead man yearns to tell his beloved how much he loves her) and what appear to be very dim memories of Cocteau's Orpheus (a hunk walks through walls). Despite a script by Bruce Joel Rubin that seems to reinvent the hero's relation to the material world on a scene-by-scene basis, the storytelling is effectively articulated, and it moves reasonably briskly for a 128-minute movie. However, there's something offensive about the movie's chintzy view of death and the way it periodically flirts with promising conceits (i.e., Goldberg offering her body as a surrogate so that Swayze and Moore can "touch" one another) only to back away from them in as cowardly a manner as possible. Swayze tries very hard to act, but never quite makes it; Moore and Goldberg (who is pretty funny in spots) fare much better, as do villains Tony Goldwyn and Rick Aviles, considering the mechanical paces the silly script puts them through.

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