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"I have absolutely no doubt that there is life beyond what we call death."
Raymond Teague is the author of Reel
Spirit: A Guide to Movies That
He is an award-winning
His book is available by clicking the "Buy the Book" link above or by clicking here.
"Reel Spirit" Movie Reviews
Maybe I'm too accepting or too believing; maybe I'm not as skeptical or cynical as I should be. But I have absolutely no doubt that there is life beyond what we call death, that the souls who have gone on can communicate with us, and that we have the ability to know their presence.
There have been too many occurrences of the supernatural in my life and in the lives of people - honest, sincere, ordinary people - that I know, and too many well documented studies and case histories for me to not accept and believe.
One of the most seminal books in my awareness is The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot, in which we read, "In fact, it appears that this reality and the next are different in degree, but not in kind. Both are hologram constructs, realities that are established . . . only by the interaction of consciousness with its environment. Put another way, our reality appears to be a more frozen version of the afterlife dimension."
Experiences with the supernatural are actually very natural in our world, and there are many who regard them simply as facts that cannot be ignored any more than can physical sensations.
That's why I'm always surprised when people in the media (who I know from my years as a journalist tend to be skeptical and somewhat jaded) and characters in the movies still continue to react with such abject disbelief about spirits and life after this life.
The film Dragonfly is a dramatic thriller that again plays with the questions: Is there life after death? Can the dead communicate with us? And again, we mostly have people who continue to close their minds to the possibilities. From the start, I want to shake them and say, "Wake up!" and I'm amazed that we are even having this repetitious cinematic debate.
Leading the list of doubters in the film are the stereotypical intellectuals, the educated, those who value the mind over the heart. Joe Darrow (Kevin Costner) is a doctor whose wife Emily, a loving, much admired fellow doctor, has been killed. A friend refers to Emily as "the heart" and Joe as "the mind" in the marriage.
Joe believes that this plane of existence is all there is, and his rational mind goes into a tailspin when Emily's spirit apparently starts communicating with him directly and through patients in the Chicago hospital where Joe and she have worked.
Joe's neighbor is a disbelieving attorney (Kathy Bates), who says, "Nothing is real without evidence." A hospital administrator and a doctor friend of Joe's round out the main Doubting Thomases. The believer, also stereotypically, is a nun, Sister Madeline (Linda Hunt), who believes in Near Death Experiences (NDE's), miracles, and different "ladders of consciousness" on which life is created and experienced.
'What we're experiencing right now," Sister Madeline tells Joe, "could be just in our mind . . . If we can create this world with what we imagine, why not the next?"
Believing in such possibilities is no more "nuts" than Christopher Columbus exploring the physical world, she asserts.
One young patient through whom Emily seems to be communicating is Jeffrey, who has a history of NDE's. Jeffrey relates to Joe a puzzling portion of his most recent NDE: "I saw her (Emily) yesterday too. She was there, all around me. . . . She flew me out so I could come back and tell somebody something."
As is typically done in "real life," the film establishes that those who do believe in or who are experiencing the supernatural are suspect and not to be trusted for various reasons: Joe is going insane with grief and is overworking himself; Sister Madeline is controversial because of her beliefs; Jeffrey is a trickster.
As the story, directed by Tom Shadyac, unfolds and Joe follows Emily's callings, Joe's heart opens, and the evidence that the attorney wants before she can believe starts to stack up.
Once more, enlightenment comes to the once stubbornly unenlightened. Hallelujah!
Joe praises Emily: "What she taught me in life, she taught me in death - to trust, to have faith."
"It's belief that gets us there," Joe says.
The evidence is all around us. Perhaps the real question of the film is: What's taking so many people so long to get there?