Blithe Spirit

New to Sky Cinema.

Directed by Edward Hall and adapted by Piers Ashworth from Noel Cowards 1940’s play. Blithe Spirit stars Dan Stephens as Charles Condomine, a successful author, tasked with adapting a successful novel into a screenplay. However, he has struggled with “writers block” since the death of his first wife who he still pines for, much to the frustration of his current wife Ruth (Isla Fisher). However, life changes after going to see famous “medium”, Judi Dench’s, Madame Arcati Charles and Ruth find a third wheel in their relationship in the shape of “interference” from Charles’s late wife Elvira (Leslie Mann), what for Charles seems a dream increasingly becomes a nightmare.

I didn’t know this was based on a Coward play which perhaps explains why I spent my time thinking, I’ve seen this story before and, unfortunately, done much, much better.

I found Blithe Spirit hugely disappointing, so poor in fact even the wonderful Judi Dench couldn’t lift it beyond decidedly average. Its main problem was the failure in the story telling, the performances are fine but they have so little to work with we only get paper thin and uninteresting characters. Its main failure though, as a comedy, is it just isn’t funny.

Its final crime was its ending, because for all that had preceded it, it had a twist at the end that was intriguing and a little unexpected (maybe it was obvious and I’d stopped caring) and that was hugely frustrating because, suddenly, you think that there was a story there all along but they chose to hide it amongst a series of uninteresting and unfunny randomly thrown together scenes.

It’s only saving graces are, at 95 minutes its thankfully short (felt longer) and of course there’s Judi Dench. So if you want 20 minutes of Dame Judi and happy to ignore 74 of the other 75 minutes this could work, but really, beyond that, I’d suggest watching something else.

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