TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY
Release Date: May 03, 1991
Rating: No MPAA rating
Runtime: 107 minutes
Distributor: Sam Goldwyn
Director: Anthony Minghella
Producer: Robert Cooper
Writer: Anthony Minghella
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Given to intense crying jags of great sorrow and anguish, Nina Mitchell confides to close friends that her life has been shattered by the death of her husband, Jamie. She misses him deeply and is angry over his not being there any more, as her whole life has been taken up with her loved one. The mere touching of Jamie's cello brings on solitary weepings, and in agony, she constantly wishes he would return.
Then, one day, he does. In the middle of a fit of sadness, a piano/cello duet sans Jamie, Nina turns around and beholds him playing his part. Appearing in flesh and blood exactly as he used to, Jamie tells her he is a ghost. There is not much discussion of death, the afterlife, or heaven because Nina is too overjoyed he has returned.
They laugh, sing and play together. Aside from Jamie's feeling unusually cold and causing the rats to flee from her flat, not much else is learned about Nina's loved one who has come back and is now living in her house. Jamie does, however, surprise Nina one day, when he introduces her to eight or nine other ghosts, dead friends of his, he says, who curiously enjoy doing nothing more than watching videos.
Nina soon starts to feel like her life is being turned upside down, as Jamie and friends move her favorite pictures and rearrange the furniture. However, when Jamie asks if she wants him to go, she throws her arms around his neck to signal an emphatic no.
Even so, when a new suitor enters Nina's world, Nina must finally decide between the two. In a telltale scene, Nina packs Jamie's cello, and the rats return. In the movie's only hauntingly-staged scene, Jamie's friends congratulate him as he wipes away a tear while watching Nina share a tender kiss with the new man in her life.
TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY centers on the mixed blessings of having a wish such as Nina's come true, and how, in the end, we have to let go of the dead. Director Minghella also introduces a sub-text. "It's also about the dead letting go of the living. Maybe why some people find it so hard when they lose someone is because the dead don't let go. So the dead need to do this," he says, referring to an old Muslim tradition which says there's a period of 1,000 days before a soul leaves a dead body.
Although it makes sense to let go of memories that prevent one from living with life, it is not biblical to say that the hanging onto the memory of a loved one is as much a burden to the departed one as it is to the burden bearer. The Christian is blessed since he can cast his burdens upon the Lord, "who daily bears our burdens" (Psalm 68: 19). Furthermore, for the Christian it is good news that the dead do not hang around since "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
That Minghella doesn't want the viewer distracted from engaging in thoughtful deliberations on this subject matter is apparent from his reluctance to make Jamie a special-effects ghost. Yet, as the English are wont to do, much of the story time is taken up with mundane dialogue and static scenes, taking what seems forever to get to the film's main message. Still, some may enjoy such a picture, but an extreme caution warning is given for another character's promiscuity and sexual immorality, as well as the ghostly plot device since spiritism is an anathema to God.