tek's rating:

Heart and Souls (PG-13)
Great but Forgotten; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: none that I know of.

This came out in 1993, but I didn't see it until 2021. It got mixed reviews and did poorly at the box office, but I've always wanted to see it, anyway. I feel I should say it's technically more a supernatural film than a fantasy (though of course I could also file it under "comedy"), but I'm going with fantasy just because.

It starts in 1959, introducing us to five people who end up dying in a bus crash. They include a single mother named Penny (Alfre Woodard), a waitress named Julia (Kyra Sedgwick), an aspiring singer with stage fright named Harrison (Charles Grodin), and a thief who wants to go straight named Milo (Tom Sizemore). Oh, and the bus driver, Hal (David Paymer), who causes the crash. There's also a couple who are driving to the hospital as the wife goes into labor, who are involved in the accident but aren't harmed. Hal ascends to Heaven, but the other four become attached to the couple's newborn baby, Thomas Reilly. He can see and hear them all, though no one else can. Some force keeps them from straying far from Thomas, so they become friends to him throughout the first seven years of his life. But then his belief in these "imaginary friends" becomes problematic, so they decide to stop appearing to him, even though they still can't leave him.

The movie then flashes forward to Thomas as an adult (Robert Downey Jr.), who has a girlfriend named Anne (Elisabeth Shue), though he's not as committed to the relationship as he should be. (He tends to push people away because he fears needing anyone, after having lost his childhood ghost friends.) Anyway, Hal returns and informs the four ghosts that they were supposed to have spent their time using Thomas to help them complete their unfinished business (something an angel was supposed to have told them like 30 years ago, but never did). So now they have to rush to take care of each of their issues, because it's time for them to be taken away by Hal to be reborn into new babies, I guess. They reappear to Thomas, who is at first reluctant to believe they're real, much less help them. But soon he's convinced, and... well, he helps them. This sometimes involves the ghosts taking over his body for awhile.

Well, I don't want to get into what each soul needed to do before moving on, but I will say that while I found the movie somewhat cheesy and occasionally cringey, ultimately I liked it well enough. Parts of it were reasonably amusing, and parts of it were reasonably touching, I guess. And I did like how Thomas grew as a person, and finally saved his relationship with Anne. And the relationships between the four souls themselves, as well as with Thomas, were kind of nice. And I don't know what else to tell you.

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