Sound of the Week – 15/01/16

Sound of the Week – 15/01/16

Truly Madly Deeply (1990)
Written and Directed by Anthony Minghella
Nina (Juliet Stevenson)
Jamie (Alan Rickman RIP)
Mark (Michael Maloney)

Truly Madly Deeply

It’s hard to review this film without giving away the plot so (spoiler alert), Jamie dies but comes back as a ghost. We never know whether he actually comes back or whether his return is all in Nina’s imagination. There is enough ambiguity in the film to favour either possibility. I favour the former.

We don’t know how long it has been since Jamie’s death but Nina is struggling to move on, closing everyone out, being angry with everyone but mostly Jamie for leaving her. His “return” provides the most spellbinding scene I have ever watched. The moment Jamie returns and Nina sees him is the most powerful, emotional, breath-taking scene – and I mean it literally takes your breath away – I couldn’t focus on the rest of the film. Even now, when thinking about her reaction, I can hardly bare it. In the most peculiar way, you understand and feel the tremendous impact Jamie’s death had on Nina’s through her reaction to his return.

They share the most beautiful scenes remembering the wonderful parts of their relationship and for three whole days Nina never leaves the flat, doesn’t answer the doorbell or the phone. When Nina finally returns to work, she meets Mark, who is immediately smitten by her. For Nina, this is nothing more than friendship as her Jamie is back in her life.

However, the honeymoon of Jamie’s return is short lived when he starts complaining of the layout of the furniture, the temperature of the flat which he feels is always too cold (but let’s face it, he’s a ghost!), presents he bought her are not on display, and he constantly has all his friends from the afterlife around. They begin arguing and bickering and Nina’s relationship with Mark becomes deeper.

It is not clear, not in any way implicit, whether things with Jamie were really always this way and Nina had just forgotten in her grief, or if Jamie had created these scenarios to help Nina cope and move on. When you watch the scene of Jamie and his friends looking out the window as Nina goes out with Mark, I think you will agree it’s the latter.

I don’t feel it’s incorrect to call Truly Madly Deeply a film – or even a screenplay – it is a heartfelt and moving study of the grieving process.

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Previous Sound of the Week

15/01/16 – Truly Madly Deeply

22/01/16 – To Absent Friends…

29/01/16 – Desert Island Discs – Mary Portas