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movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Dragonfly

Starring: Kevin Costner, Linda Hunt
Director: Tom Shadyac
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: February 2002
Genre: Suspense

*Also starring: Matt Craven, Joe Morton, Ron Rifkin, Jay Thomas, Kathy Bates, Kathryn Erbe, Jacob Smith

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

Emergency room doctor Joe Darrow (Kevin Costner) has been getting heavenly Email lately, delivered by the kids from his dead wife's old oncology ward. He also hears dead people. Well, he hears one, his wife who speaks through dead and temporarily dead bodies. DRAGONFLY, which tries hard to be the next SIXTH SENSE, is from director Tom Shadyac, who last gave us PATCH ADAMS, which was also slow and sappy and about terminally ill kids.

Known to the kids as Emily's Joe, Joe views dragonflies reverentially since they were the "personal totem" of his wife Emily (Susanna Thompson). She even had a small birthmark in the shape of a dragonfly. As the story begins, Emily is tending to sick children in Venezuela. She dies when a bus goes down a mountain and into a river, but her body is never located.

A man who doesn't even believe in heaven, Joe becomes convinced that the children's tales of talking to his wife near a noisy rainbow must be true. When Miriam Belmont (Kathy Bates), his next-door neighbor and friend, confronts this non-believer with his inconsistencies, he shouts back, "This isn't heaven. This is rainbows!"

After several small surprises designed to make you jump, like a bird flying unexpectedly, the movie finally gets to its intended destination, where Joe can find out what his messages from the beyond mean. The movie's ads brag that "You won't believe the ending." Actually, I bought the final conclusion, lock, stock and barrel. It is most of the rest of the picture that strains credulity but no more so than most other tales of the supernatural. The big ending surprise almost saves the movie. It's too bad that the rest isn't more compelling.

DRAGONFLY runs 1:45. It is rated PG-13 for "thematic material and mild sensuality" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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