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Truly Madly Deeply (1990)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Nina, mourning the recent and sudden death of her lover Jamie, who was a gifted cellist, visits a bereavement therapist and, along with her sense of desolation, admits to a feeling that Jamie is still around. In between, she draws consolation from her friends at the translation agency where she works, particularly the fatherly Sandy, the eccentric Titus, and Maura, who is about to have a baby. Her sister also pays regular visits and tries to bring some order to Nina's unkempt and crumbling Highgate flat, which is the source of many problems, including recent infestation by rats.

Then one evening Jamie returns as a ghost. Nina is ecstatic to have him back in her life and ensconced in her flat (they never lived together while he was alive). She takes off from work to spend time with Jamie, although she continues to see Maura, to whom she is teaching English. One afternoon they go to a café where Roberto, a friend of Maura's, works. Maura and Roberto are Chilean exiles - she was once a filmmaker and he a doctor - but when the three chat together in Spanish, they attract the attention of the bigoted café owner. Accusing Roberto of stealing from the takings, the owner sacks him. A row ensues which is suddenly stopped when a young man starts doing magic tricks in the café.

Back at home, Nina finds that the rats have gone but that she is now infested with film-buff ghosts: Jamie has been asking his phantom friends back for all-night video shows. Shortly afterwards, she bumps into the young magician on a bus: he turns out to be an art-therapy teacher called Mark. He asks her out and she accepts, but later turns up to call off their date. That night she returns home to find Jamie and his friends rearranging her flat. She tells the friends that they must leave. Nina and Jamie pledge their love for each other, but she tells him that she wants her own life.

The next day, Nina visits Mark at his school, and tells him about Jamie and why she has been so reticent. That evening, the two go back to Mark's home. When she returns to her flat, Nina finds that Jamie has gone and the rats have returned. Later Mark comes to pick her up; as they drive away, Jamie and his friends wave unnoticed at the window, a small tear glistening in Jamie's eye.

Sight and Sound, October 1991