starring Kevin Costner, Joe Morton, Ron Rofkin, Linda Hunt, Susanna Thompson and Kathy Bates
written by David Seltzer, Brandon Camp and Mike Thompson
directed by Tom Shadyac
The Japanese title for this film is “Calling.” It is kind of a male version of the Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg movie Ghost. I mean, if you will call Ghost a “chic flick,” then maybe you will call Dragonfly a “guy flick.” I did not like it nearly as much as I enjoyed Ghost mostly, I think, because Dragonfly lacks the comedy of Whoopi Goldberg. Or, any comedy whatsoever, for that matter. It is a serious story of the pain and lonely heartache of a recently widowed physician who comes to believe that his late wife’s ghost is trying to communicate from beyond the grave - hence the Japanese title. But for that reason it is not only a “serious” story, but also a fanciful one about extrasensory perception, or mysteriously “feeling” the wife’s spirit through a series of bizarre events in his life. As it turns out, communication from beyond the grave is exactly what was going on, or so we are left to believe. (For the sake of telling a 90-minute story on film we need the premise. Otherwise, there is no story.) But try convincing one’s friends of such a thing - especially if you are a doctor - and people will soon question your mental as well as professional competence.
The wife (Emily) is lost in a bus crash off a muddy, mountainous jungle road in some South American country during a hurricane. Emily is there in the first place performing compassionate, humanitarian charity work. Her doctor husband (Joe) - who did not accompany his wife into the wild - is eventually attracted/driven to the crash site in search of his wife, who he believes - because of the bizarre phenomena that have been going on in his life back in Chicago - might still be alive.
This is when we meet the aboriginal people - a strange twist. Maybe it is a reflection of a popular modern preoccupation with the plight of south American Indians. Anyway, Joe negotiates himself into a restricted Indian village where he thinks he will either find his wife, or else find his wife’s grave. He finds a burial site. And, surprise, he discovers a daughter that he never knew he had, rescued by the local Indians from his mortally injured wife. Here, presumably, is the source of the psychic energy calling to him from the great beyond. It is a happy love story after all.