Making the Grades
A twenty-six hour shift in a busy hospital ward has left Dr. Elizabeth Martinson (Reese Witherspoon) run off her feet. But the evening isn't over yet. She's been invited to her sister's (Dina Spybey) house for dinner. Unfortunately, a horrific accident keeps Elizabeth from making the engagement.
Meanwhile, David Abbot (Mark Ruffalo) is searching for an apartment. Following a traumatic event in his own life, the unshaven architect is on the prowl for a place where he can hunker down and drown himself in booze and despair. When a fully furnished suite suddenly comes on the market, he knows it is just what he needs to wallow around in.
However, David doesn't count on sharing the place with anyone--especially a spirit who refuses to believe she is dead. Showing up unexpectedly, the otherworldly Elizabeth accuses David of breaking into her house and insists he get out immediately.
Yet even after hiring a Catholic priest and members of an Eastern religion to cast out the ghostly guest, David is haunted by the sudden appearances of the apparition. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he visits a bookstore specializing in the occult and metaphysical. There he meets Darryl (John Heder), a clerk who has the uncanny ability to sense spiritual beings. Finally finding someone who understands his predicament, David, with Darryl's help, tries to convince Elizabeth it is time to move on to the other side.
It's initially hard to know if the hallucinations David sees are real or the result of the endless cans of beer he drinks. He, along with several other characters, relies on alcohol to smooth out the bumps in life and lubricate uncomfortable social situations. Alternatively, Katrina (Ivana Milicevic), David's downstairs neighbor, tries to alleviate her relationship disappointments by brazenly propositioning her new neighbor with her bare body.
But hallucination or not, the association between David and Elizabeth grows from annoying to amorous. While the romance between a mere mortal and a heavenly being presents some complications, it also offers some creativity and complexity to the plot. Audiences, though, may have a more difficult time buying into the scenario. Without any real chemistry in the air, this couple needs some divine intervention to resuscitate their mediocre affections.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Just Like Heaven.
Loneliness is a feeling several of the characters experience in this film. How does each of them deal with it? Does sexual activity alone fill the need for emotional connection?
Elizabeth is consumed by her career. How does that affect her relationship with others? Despite her worthy work of saving lives, what things does her profession fail to fulfill? What drives people to be workaholics?