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Truly, Madly, Deeply

The first film effort for Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley) was Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991), a wonderful, funny, sometimes annoying, ultimately moving film about the nature of grief. Minghella wrote the BBC television film for his star, Juliet Stevenson, who plays Nina, a translator in London who's lost her lover, Jamie (Alan Rickman). He returns to her as a ghost — a turn of events that thrills Nina, until Jamie begins to inflict upon her all of the same irritating and selfish quirks that she'd had to deal with when he was alive. When Nina meets a charming new man (Michael Maloney), she has to decide whether she'll cling to the ghost of her love or move forward and embrace life. Stevenson plays Nina all-stops-out, in as raw a performance as has ever been seen on film. Her grief at losing Jamie is like an open wound, and her anger is so fierce and profound that it scorches the screen. When Jamie returns to her, the primal emotion with which she clings to him is painful to watch. Once the characters' depth is established and Minghella has you hooked, the middle third of the film gently veers into romantic comedy, as Rickman's curmudgeonly ghost starts bringing friends over and hanging out until all hours of the night ("I can't believe I have a bunch of dead people watching videos in my living room," says Nina, in disgust.) Mark, the new fellow in Nina's life, at first seems no match for the dashing Jamie — but as Nina's romanticized view of Jamie fades, she begins to loosen her grip on the past and open her heart. Truly, Madly, Deeply is a film that people either passionately love or passionately loathe — make sure you have a box of Kleenex nearby, just in case you fall into the former category. MGM's DVD release features a decent transfer in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Shot in 16mm, the source appears a bit grainy at times. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (as well as French and Spanish 2.0 mono) suffers from the same low-budget drawbacks as the film quality — all things considered, the sound is clean, although the dialogue in some scenes is less than sparkling. Subtitles are offered in English, French and Spanish. Features include a commentary with director Anthony Minghella, a new video interview with Minghella entitled "The Spirit of Cowardice," and the theatrical trailer. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor



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