Throwback Thursday /Viral Vault: I had a sudden longing..for some Shelley..
This is an undervalued gem. It’s great! Funny, moving, charming, genuinely full of spark and wit and some genuinely challenging philosophical questions.
Released in 1987, it was a vehicle for SHELLEY LONG. And one can see why the lady’s talent suited the material. She has to play kind of clumsy yet still sexy; a put upon housewife and yet plucky, quirky, eccentric. There is a reality to her and accessibility but also a definitive glamour, grace and elegance. It’s not just that the screen loves Shelley so much as a joint affair whereby she loves it back and in turn makes it make her all the more adorably lovely. It’s called a MOVIE STAR! 🙂
The film’s premise is high concept yet simple. Perfect wife dies. Gets resurrected, finds husband has moved on. Toys with winning him back, only to discover she is capable of so much more. And yet it’s not a feminist revenge fantasy or emasculation of the men here. Corbin Bernsen is credible as a plastic surgeon (same way he convinced as a lawyer in LA Law: itself a precursor to Clooney as Dr Ross in ER?). Though yes, one cannot help wondering who would win a fight between Corbin and Don Johnson (answer: Kev’ Costner! sweet!). Gabriel Byrne is also compelling as a co-star; there is a sensitivity to the character and the sound mix does his voice great favours, allowing it to consume the screen without any trace of selfish over-acting. He plays it a bit like a version of Dr Who: curiosity, wonder and a romantic character without being defined solely by the process of romancing a lady counterpart.
Sela Ward is a good brunette foil to Shelley as heroine. There are of course hints of an undercurrent of black magic and even horror, but the film is careful to avoid anything too traumatic or scary. That said? Gabriel Byrne would go onto play..Satan in End of Days..in a similar take to Al Pacino in Devil’s Advocate, where Satan’s chosen mom for his son (Keanu Reeves) is played by..Judith Ivey, who also plays Shelley’s benign occultist sister.. in.. Hello Again! Bit spooky. And just in time for Halloween, too.
- But this is really a movie about life and living.
- Shelley is personifying all of us as viewers: enduring the trials that face us all; from snobbery and social status to divorce and romance, dog walking and job hunting.
- One watches and feels hope that ALL can win and so with a hint of vulnerability, in service of strength (just as the death here enables the lead character to truly ‘live’).
- Shelley just gives proceedings that extra bit of grace and wit and determination: showing us, through the film’s arc, that it’s possible to make the best of what he have or had; whilst embracing change as something positive and beautiful. It’s proof of her stardom, her every scene advancing timeless motifs.
Equally though? This is a harmless, charming, fluffy, funny bit of precious entertainment that zips along at a fast pace and leaves you feeling recharged for the real world. So it’s a worth a watch, though frankly, anything featuring this amazing leading lady..always is!
I love this movie. And yes, bit of a crush on its leading lady. X 🙂
JAMES MURPHY: Single, available for dates and stuff with a Shelley Long type. Must have GSOH.