- Patrick Swayze as Sam Wheat
- Demi Moore as Molly Jensen
- Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown
- Tony Goldwyn as Carl Bruner
A hybrid of romance, supernatural and thriller, Ghost still entrances audiences with its emotional heart. And while it would be easy to write it off as just another generic weepy, its heartfelt impact can’t be denied, as can’t find work from the cast, including an Oscar-winning Whoopi Goldberg.
Sam Wheat and Molly Jensen are a couple are madly in love with each other and living in Manhattan. Life is good for them as Sam is a successful banker and Molly enjoys her work as an artist. That is until their bliss is shattered one night. Coming home from a play , they are accosted by a thug and Sam is fatally shot. Yet while dead, his spirit doesn’t move on to the afterlife. Unfortunately, though he attempts to communicate with Molly, he can’t. Molly retreats into grief following his death and shuts herself away. After much shock has settled in, Sam slowly finding his footing as a spirit and how he can impact on Molly’s life and clutch tight their bond. Sam also discovers that his death was not just some random mugging gone wrong but part of a dodgy scheme that he’d inadvertently stumbled into earlier in the film. It was organised by Carl Bruner, who he considered a friend but is revealed to be a contemptible weasel. Realising that Molly is now in danger, Sam frets about how he can help his beloved. His possible answer comes in the surprising form of Oda Mae Brown, a fake physic who ironically can hear him. Oda Mae is reluctant and startled by her gift, which she never actually realised was there as she’s faked being a psychic for money. Yet after much persistence, she agrees to help him reach Molly. The trouble is proving to the grieving young woman that Sam’s spirit is still there. Time is soon ticking for Sam as he attempts to warn the devastated Molly of her impending danger and to finally move onto the next life knowing that she is safe.
On directing duties is Jerry Zucker, who brings considerable skill to Ghost. He really finds so many angles and different genre elements to contend with and he largely gets it right. Ghost at its heart is a romance with immense spiritual overtones to it. Yet it also boasts many moments of fine humour and even has thriller elements that are surprisingly strong and boast some unexpected tension, complete with some detours into the spooky realm. It’s a credit to Zucker that most of the hoops keep spinning in sync with each other, only occasionally stumbling in steps that can be easily forgotten given the rest of the picture. Overall, Ghost is definitely a memorably moving movie that knows the ways to get you deeply involved with the immensely heartfelt story at play. And it’s impossible to forget the justifiably famous scene of Molly and Sam at the pottery wheel that develops into a sensual encounter. It is so sexy and romantic, along with changing the way audiences would see pottery forever. Though it’s been parodied to death, the original scene still holds a special place in cinema as a most sexy and tender scene of two people genuinely in love with each other. Sure Ghost works on your emotions, but it gets right to the heart of the theme of love transcending all that it’s hard to really fault as it sucks you in. If you’re not flowing with tears by the end, you mustn’t have a sensitive bone in your body. For Ghost beautifully and often poignantly highlights that love is in fact eternal and that the feeling of a loved one never leaves, whether they be alive or dead. And I for one bought into it, along with the various melding of genres that I mentioned earlier. Ghost may run a little too long, but that can be papered over given the investment and impact of the movie in general. Maurice Jarre is the man behind the sincere, romantic and frequently atmospheric score of Ghost, that goes a long way to accentuating the themes of love overcoming all and still burning.
Patrick Swayze has the right physicality and decency for the part of the Sam, whose desire and love for Molly is what keeps his spirit alive after he is killed. The part could easily have been bland or boring, but Swayze raises it up to a respectable level and adds his own spin on it that ensures we buy into his mission to save his beloved. Demi Moore, who has never looked more beautiful than she does here, also sells the desolation and passion of her character. And man is she damn effective in the emotional scenes, her tears cause you to shed them too. Standing out the most in proceedings is the scene-stealing Whoopi Goldberg, in an Oscar-winning performance. It is her who injects a lot of humour into the film and gives it yet another dimension. Acting as Sam’s often hilarious and sassy voice piece, Goldberg creates a character of high energy and care. It will be impossible not to laugh at just how funny she is here, being the memorable comic relief yet also finding some soulful honesty too. Rounding out things is Tony Goldwyn; appropriately nasty and sly as the backstabbing man whose actions lead to Sam’s murder. It’s a credit to Goldwyn that you really wish his character the worst and hope he gets exactly what’s coming to him.
A memorable romance that combines other genres like fantasy and sometimes tense thriller into the mix to a largely pleasing and arresting effect, Ghost will both warm and break your heart. So grab some chocolate, get the tissues at the ready and watch this romance that retains a sensitive and soulful presence today.