Just Like Heaven (2005)

dir. Mark Waters

The set-up of Just Like Heaven shouldn’t, theoretically, be all that complicated. The movie certainly ticks a few boxes in its opening scenes: we meet our frazzled workaholic Elizabeth (Reese Witherspoon), whose life revolves around her job as a doctor. Despite supposedly being an incredibly accomplished physician, she is ostensibly completely useless at such tasks requiring basic hand-eye coordination as changing her car radio’s volume, to the extent that it results in a serious road crash. David (Mark Ruffalo) is then shown moving into Elizabeth’s conveniently vacated apartment, but it’s not long before he’s experiencing strange visions and movements that no one else can see. That, along with the word “heaven” being in the film’s very title, should surely indicate some sense of what comes next – but Just Like Heaven manages to surprise, and not in a good way. It seems the film wanted to do a story with a ghostly romance, but also wanted a happy ending with two live, breathing characters. So it elected to do both. It’s a poor film with an almost offensively contrived storyline, and it leaves you wishing there truly was at least as much death in the movie as the title implies.

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