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  • Writer's pictureJeff South

10 Movies To Watch With Your Sweetie: Dead Again

Dead Again (1991)

Kenneth Branagh: Roman Strauss/Mike Church

Emma Thompson: Grace/Margaret Strauss

Andy Garcia: Gray Baker

Robin Williams: Dr. Cozy Carlisle

Derek Jacobi: Frank Madson

Screenplay by Scott Frank

Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Dead Again is a story of two people brought together by a mystery that may be solved by an examination of their possible past lives. It stars Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson in dual roles. Perhaps you find a mystery/thriller an odd choice for a movie to watch with your love, but its actually a perfect date movie because its central premise is concerned with love so strong it extends beyond multiple lifetimes.

The movie introduces us to Grace (Emma Thompson), an amnesiac with nary a notion as to her identity. She has recurring nightmares of being stabbed with scissors and has taken refuge in a convent and the nuns have asked a local private eye named Mike Church (Kenneth Branagh) to see what he can find out. He puts out feelers, takes out ads, investigates leads. You know. Private eye stuff. She ends up staying with him because romance can't happen unless she does. He is cynical, of course, and hard-edged, but he has a soft spot for Grace. After a couple of dead ends, the pair begins to suspect that they may be reincarnated from the souls of a brilliant composer named Roman Strauss and his wife Margaret (Branagh and Thompson, again). It's an intriguing idea and the movie does a nice job of threading the two timelines and dropping clues. Part of the fun of a movie like this is having a partner with whom to figure stuff out.

Mike and Grace learn more about their possible connection to Roman and Margaret from an antique dealer and part-time hypnotist played one of my favorite British actors, Derek Jacobi. They learn about the lives Roman and Margaret through newspaper articles written by journalist with the awesome some of Gray Baker, who may or may not have had an affair. You see, Roman murdered Margaret with a pair of scissors when he suspected her of infidelity with Baker. Can Grace trust Mike? Even though they are falling for one another, are they doomed to the same fate as Roman and Margaret? Are they subject to, as Robin Williams' disgraced psychiatrist says in a great cameo, "the karma payment plan?"

It all leads to one of those locked room climaxes after a couple of twists are reavealed and the past and present collide. Dead Again was released in 1991, a year that blessed us with such remarkable pictures as The Silence of the Lambs, Thelma and Louise, City Slickers, and The Prince of Tides. There are some forgotten treasures from that year, too. Find a list on the internet and seek them out. I would recommend a sweet little John Candy film called Only The Lonely.

And I highly recommend Dead Again. If you've seen it, revisit it. If you haven't, find it and dive in with your sweetie. You'll have fun trying to put it all together.

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