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Truly, Madly Deeply is the Thinking Man’s Ghost

Paul Ambrose
Paul Ambrose
Recommended: Truly, Madly, Deeply
Recommended: Truly, Madly, Deeply

Often referred to as the “thinking man’s version of Ghost”, this movie won’t make you put up with a romance between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore again.  Instead, it has also been called a "Ghost for people who can do crosswords". 

The premise of life after death is a bit less certain, as in the real life struggle that we all know to be the case, and it raises questions about what is real and what is imagined.

The film stars Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman and it won several awards including a BAFTA for best original screenplay and the Australian Film Institute's Best Foreign Film Award. With a combination of serious themes and comedy this film strikes a strong chord in almost everyone who watches it.

The characters also have social and political concerns and Jamie (played by Rickman) explains that he still attends “Party meetings”, despite being dead.  The title Truly, Madly, Deeply comes from a word game that the main characters play with each other in order to prove how much they feel for one another.

The game is played only after Nina (played by Stevenson) has been beside herself over the recent death of her boyfriend, Jamie. When it finally appears that she will not be able to cope with life anymore, Jamie suddenly reappears but it is not clear if he is real or imagined. 

Nina is ecstatic at first but Jamie's behavior is a bit troublesome than expected.  He begins turning up the central heating, moving furniture and inviting back his "ghost friends" for late night DVD movies.  This gradually infuriates Nina and their relationship actually deteriorates. Ironically, this becomes part of the eventual process of moving on and the closure that is so desperately needed in Nina’s life.   

The main theme of Truly, Madly, Deeply is love, as would be expected, but it is set in a context which stretches beyond our usual tendencies to argue and make light of our problems. 

The couple follows the late-stage pattern of many deteriorating couples who stay indoors and gripe about life. This melancholy tendency to watch the rain and resist the courage to go out and succeed in the world is something that we may have all experienced ourselves at some time or another. In fact, the true “death” that is represented in this film may only be the fear of living our lives.

In addition, the line between realism and metaphor is investigated to show us how little we may know about who we really are. Many scenes depict something which may or may not be happening.

Truly, Madly, Deeply has many things to think about and is certainly a more interesting investigation into the nature of life after death than other movies of its kind. See for yourself whether this makes you look at your own relationships in a new light and to make some changes to what you have previously held to be a true perception of love and death.

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i think it s an excellent

i think it s an excellent film for the symbolic death of one relalionship and moving onto the next. i ve just watched it over and over this bank hol to acknowledge the grief of leaving a 7 year relationship. Then enjoy the potential future partner represented by michael maloney. Love it. :-}


I saw Truly, Madly, Deeply a few years after the death of my husband (at age 32). It gave me inspiration to believe that it WAS possible to move on.