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
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