“Ghost” – Lovers Between Worlds [Review]

Ghost 1990


Title: “Ghost”

Release Date: 1990

Director: Jerry Zucker

Cast: Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn


Jerry Zucker’s movie “Ghost” has become a permanent part of cinema history. Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore sculpting clay to the sound of “Unchained Melody” is a legendary scene that almost everyone associates. The beautiful picture, which combines the atmosphere of a love melodrama with warm humor and a criminal twist, has not grown old at all. To this day it exudes hope that love can overcome any obstacle, and no breakup has to be final.

“Ghost” – a classic romcom from the late 20th century

Zucker’s “Ghost” is a film that combines several genre conventions. Here we have a touching love story, a comedy and a detective story in one. The picture fits into the trend of neo-romantic American comedies of the 1990s, which include, for example, “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993) by Nora Ephron or “Green Card” (1990) by Peter Weir. Thus, the action takes place in the big city, the characters get a unique chance for true love, but the feeling encounters serious obstacles on its way.

“Ghost” tells the story of a New York couple who have just decided to live with each other. Sam (Patrick Swayze) is a promising banker, and Molly (Demi Moore) is a talented sculptor who is about to exhibit her work in a gallery for the first time. The two find their dream nest in Tribeca, in Lower Manhattan, at the time an artsy and indigent neighborhood in New York City. When they return from the theater one evening, their talk of marriage is interrupted by a brutal robbery by a street thug. A fight ensues between Sam and the robber, resulting in the fatal shooting of the protagonist. The shocked man realizes that he is dead and tries to contact Molly at all costs. At the same time he falls on the trail of his murderer and learns that his beloved is in mortal danger. So Sam decides to enlist the help of an eccentric spiritualist (played by Whoopi Goldberg) to save Molly.

Ghost movie review

The movie “Ghost” – an atmospheric work of the 90s.

The movie “Ghost” is a work that captivates, first of all, with its unique atmosphere. It is worth noting the carefully prepared scenery, which harmonizes with the message of the romantic story. Molly and Sam’s loft in TriBeka, the furnishing of which is a significant motif of the narrative, fully reflects the artistic soul of the young sculptor, but also the couple’s sincere and unique bond. Demi Moore recalls this detail of working on the film as follows: “Jerry had a specific image of our apartment in his mind and took me and Patrick to New York to show it to us. He thought it said everything about the two’s relationship and lifestyle. The set designers at Paramount recreated this loft on set in Los Angeles to the smallest detail (…) from the creaking floorboards to the tall windows.”

Demi Moore took special lessons in using the potter’s wheel to make the clay-pouring scenes look as believable as possible. The now iconic sequence with the couple forming a phallic shape together was particularly difficult. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that it came off phenomenally and reached the apogee of erotic charge. Of course, everything would not have succeeded so perfectly without the phenomenal soundtrack, and especially without its main musical theme: the song “Unchained Melody” performed by The Righteous Brothers.

“Ghost” – beautiful characters and a touching message.

Watching the film “Ghost” decades after its release is a special experience. Not only because the picture is a testimony to its era, that fashion and style, but also because of the amazing actors. The duo of Demi Moore – Patrick Swayze worked brilliantly. Interestingly, the actress cut her hair before shooting without consulting the director while on vacation in Paris, wanting to get the Isabella Rossellini-style haircut of her dreams. When Jerry Zucker saw his Molly in a brand-new look, he was initially shocked, but eventually decided that Moore didn’t need to wear a wig, as this was the style that suited her character. And indeed it was a good intuition, because today looking at photos of the actress in this hairstyle, one immediately associates her precisely with her role in “Ghost”.

Ghost film analysis

In Demi Moore’s oeuvre, Molly’s creation is somehow unique. For it exposes her sensitive, vulnerable face. This was the first role for which Moore had to learn to really cry. An acting coach, Harold Guskin, was hired to work with her on unlocking her emotions. Whoopi Goldberg, who played spiritualist Ode Mae, was in turn awarded an Oscar for creating a highly entertaining, spirited role. The fake psychic who suddenly discovers that, what was pretend, has suddenly come true, is a great plot idea that introduces a relaxing dose of humor to the melodramatic whole.

In retrospect, however, perhaps the most touching is Sam, the titular ghost speaking from the afterlife. Looking at this character, it’s hard not to think warmly of the wonderful late actor, convincing the viewer that love is stronger than death, and that what is seemingly fleeting in reality proves to be the most enduring. Who could convey this better than precisely Patrick Swayze, before our eyes, slowly departing towards the light?


Demi Moore, “Inside Out”, 2019 (in polish transl. D. Żukowski, 2020).