Why Ghost Appeals to Our Fervent and Subtle Imagination

Copyright 2006 Ed Bagley Ghost ? 3 Stars (Good) Ghost is everything that is right about a really scary movie. There are clearly good guys and bad guys, there is uncertainty about whether all of the good guys will be standing at the end of the movie, there is romance, there is sacrifice, there is redemption, there is the surreal to deal with, there is trying to stay grounded in reality, there is good and evil, and there is the eternal question of whether good will triumph in the end. Ghost begins innocently enough as Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore) have a romance heading toward marriage when he is killed by a thug during a mugging. Upon death Sam experiences an out-of-body awareness that he has not left this world, he can see as if he is here, but no one can see or hear him.

Sam's out-of-body experience in Ghost works because Sam is not only an observer of what is happening, but he is a participant in the story line of the existing action. Sam does not realize that Carl (Tony Goldwyn), his co-worker at the bank, has hired Willie (Rick Aviles) the mugger to relieve Sam of his wallet, which contains the passwords to the bank accounts of well-heeled customers. Carl needs the passwords because he is tied to a drug money laundering operation and will be killed if he does not accomplish the transaction on time. Only later does Sam hear his friend Carl scold Willie for bungling the job by not getting the passwords and killing Sam in the process.

Sam then realizes that Molly is Carl and Willie's next target because they think the passwords remain in Molly's apartment. Sam is temporarily able to keep Molly out of harm's way but must find a way to communicate to her the danger that lurks ahead. His answer lies in the discovery of Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), a scam spiritualist who, much to her surprise and distress, can hear Sam but not see him. So it is up to Oda Mae, through Sam's knowledge and credibility, to convince Molly that her life is in danger. Oda Mae goes a little crazy with her new newfound ability, but eventually, with Sam's help, warns Molly of her imminent danger. Carl wants the passwords and will kill Molly to get them, especially after Sam and Oda Mae thwart his ability to move money through the bank.

The ending to Ghost is simply too good and too surprising to share here, the suspense is spellbinding and the result is worth the trauma. Ghost is a romantic movie set as a drama with danger. Ghost also gets better as it goes along, so you need to hang in there to appreciate what happens. Ghost is a movie we want to believe. We buy into it because of Sam and Molly's relationship, we grab it and hold on when tragedy strikes, then we want to let go when danger sets in, and Ghost will not let us go, we are doomed to ride with the eventual fate of the story.

The ending proves this is a great movie that is worth our attention, hence our fervent and subtle imagination is satisfied and at rest when the curtain closes. Whoopi Goldberg manages to turn her performance into an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress, and the screenplay writer, Bruce Joel Rubin, also won an Oscar. This is one of the best screenplays I have seen, and Rubin certainly deserved to take home the hardware.

I almost gave Ghost a 4, my highest ranking, but kept it at 3, reserving the right to raise its ranking at a later date, something that is certain to happen should I have any out-of-body experiences in my future.

Ed Bagley is the author of Ed Bagley's Blog, which he publishes daily with fresh, original articles on Internet Marketing, Jobs and Careers, Movie Reviews and Lessons in Life intended to delight, inform, educate and motivate readers. Visit Ed at . . . http://www.edbagleyblog.com



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