A spiritualist medium holds a seance for a writer suffering from writer’s block but accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife, which leads to an increasingly complex love triangle with his current wife of five years.

Pam says:

True love never dies, but sometimes we need it to as Charles Condomine (Dan Stevens) finds out.  Working tirelessly on a screenplay, this successful author who resides in a palatial estate on the cliffs in England, has hit a mental road block.  His second wife Ruth (Isla Fisher)  is focused on more important ventures such as gardening competitions and keeping up with the Joneses.   She also just happens to be the daughter of an important movie maker who can help catapult Charles into fame and Hollywood,  but that all depends on his ability to complete this screenplay.

As luck would have it, Madame Cecily Arcati (Judi Dench) accidentally conjures the spirit of Charles’ first wife Elvira (Leslie Mann), the brains behind the writing success of her hubby.  Charles then begins to rekindle that love of his first wife, using her to help him write,  while dear little Ruth begins to feel twinges of jealousy resulting in outrageous events among all the characters.  The intersection of the world beyond and the present is a messy one and Charles can’t begin to clean things up quickly enough.

Based on a play by Noel Coward, the ensemble cast brings the stage to life with characters as vibrant as the clothes they wear and the surroundings they inhabit.   And this ensemble cast demonstrates not only a firm understanding of theatrical performances, but has fun with it as well which means that we do, too.  Stevens’ quirkiness paired with Fisher’s bubbly insecurities makes for many laughs and Mann who just might help bring back the styles of the 20’s is provocatively  perfect.  Of course, anything that Dench does is spot-on, and while this is no exception to the rule, she is out of her box and relishes in it.  I’ve always said that an ending can make or break a film and this one is a home run of an ending.

With slapstick silliness and over-the-top characters, “Blithe Spirit” is Elvira with her narcissistic indifference for the havoc she wrecks on Charles and Ruth.   If you’re looking for escapism in a movie filled with incredible costuming, plenty of laughs, and a fun premise, be sure to put this one on your list.

3 Stars

Chuck says:

A delightful throwback, this remake of the 1945 Rex Harrison feature manages to capture the screwball quaility of the original most of the time, though you can see the central trio straining every once in a while in their efforts to bring the zaniness.  Still and all, there’s a great deal of charm at play as Dan Stevens’ struggling screenwriter finds himself torn between the ghost of his sexy dead wife (Leslie Mann) and his vivacious current partner (Ilsa Fisher).  Talk about having it rough!  Judi Dench adds a degree of poignancy as a fake medium who has inadvertantly opened a portal to the spirit world.  The production values are top-notch and while this modern re-dux can’t possibly capture the innocence of the era it takes place in, it does prove to be a very pleasant time-filler.

3 Stars

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