Just Like Heaven

The antidote to Million Dollar Baby. Mark Ruffalo plays a guy grieving over the death of his wife, who moves into a flat, only to be haunted by the spirit of the previous owner, Reese Witherspoon, who has unfinished business of her own. Great little romantic comedy. It turns out that Reese is not dead, but is in a coma, and her spirit is just able to get out and commune with the guy. Only problem, she doesn’t remember who she is and so he helps her try to find out who she is by interviewing neighbors and co-workers. Of course, she finds out she was so alienated from everyone because of her obsession with her job that she never lived life to the fullest. And then the ticking clock is that they are about the pull the plug on her because she has been in a coma for 3 months and her brain activity is supposedly declining. Can they stop them from doing it so Mark has a chance to be with her? Well, Reese, who used to be all for such euthanasia, is now against it, because she sees that she still has potential in the real world to wake up and live life as she should. Ruffalo realizes that he thought she was dead, but really HE was dead, spiritually, that is, because he gave up on life because of his grief rather than moving on and growing. Of course, this is another bit of humanistic Romanticism, as the language for heaven (Like the title) is used as a metaphor for THIS life. And the love of another person is the highest expression of meaning and existence. As the Romantics say, “To love and to be loved” by another human is the highest existence. But I like the idea of facing our need for meaning in life by facing our mortality. And the moral compass here are pretty high, as Ruffalo refuses to be tempted by the Seductress next door, which is honorable and worthy.

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