Sunday, October 5, 2008

Personal Ghost Town

At first I was not interested in seeing Ghost Town. The film looked too much like things I had seen before. There were dead people trying to communicate important information to the living (much like Ghost), there were living people who were able to see dead people (just like the Sixth Sense) and of course there was comedy and romance just like every other movie you have seen in recent years.

But Ghost Town surprised me. Ricky Gervais was very funny (as usual). Greg Kinnear was his usual self, giving us more a conflicted corpse than we should ever expect. And Tea Leoni turned in another fine supporting role. The story was not terribly original. Kinnear plays a husband killed too soon. He is struggling with his guilt over cheating on his wife, Leoni. He manifests his guilt by trying to protect her from a suitor who he believes to be unworthy. That is where Gervais comes in.

Dr. Bertram Pincus is a self-absorbed, difficult, insular dolt who likes no one, and consequently, no one likes him. When introduced to the beautiful widow, Bertram blossoms- and falls in love.

But here is the surprising part. Bertram changes. Or rather, Gwen changes Bertram. In the process of falling in love, Bertram learns some valuable lessons. He works to assist several ghosts on their quests to complete 'tasks' before moving to the 'other world.' Bertram learns to be selfless, and that selfishness and love cannot co-exist in the same person.

This film is not religious in any way. There is no talk of heaven, hell or judgment. God is mentioned very little, if at all. None of the characters, living or dead, display any faith. And yet, this film is one of the more spiritual that you will see. There are some new age trappings here, but do not lose sight of the fun the movie creates and the lessons on love, redemption and caring for others that you can learn.

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