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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Doctors, Patients and Ghosts, Oh My!
by Betty Jo Tucker

THERAPIST:  Are you ready to do serious work on your Penelope Cruz problem today?

ME:  If I have to, doctor. Although I sat through Gothika yesterday without laughing at her once, even when she rambled on about cutting up her stepfather "like a ripe fruit in the summertime" -- so I think I'm making progress on my own.

THERAPIST:  It's up to you, of course, but you might be repressing your real feelings. Remember your Vanilla Sky  reaction?

ME:  Yes. However, at least I stayed awake all during Gothika.

THERAPIST:  Good. That's a step in the right direction. What do you think accounts for your progress?

ME:  That's easy. Halle Berry and Robert Downey Jr. are very watchable -- even in a weird supernatural thriller like this. They both play psychiatrists, and Berry suddenly finds herself as a patient in an institution for the criminally insane -- the same place she worked before her husband was brutally murdered. She's supposed to have done the bloody deed. 

THERAPIST:  I notice you didn't mention Cruz as being "watchable." Why is that?

ME:  Unfair question, doctor! She's one of the tempestuous institutionalized patients and definitely not a pretty sight. Still, I can accept her in this role more easily than as the love interest in Vanilla Sky or Captain Corelli's Mandolin. And she shares a few frightening moments with Berry, especially when the two have to shower with other inmates -- and start seeing a ghost. 

THERAPIST:  Mental patients seeing ghosts? Nothing too  unusual about that. I've even treated one or two who believed they were ghosts. They just need the right kind of help.

ME:  Good point. But exorcism is the only type of assistance needed here. You see, an enraged spirit keeps trying to tell Berry's character something important. Unfortunately, no one pays any attention to the psychiatrist. Everyone thinks she's insane and delusional.

THERAPIST:  A sad state of affairs, indeed, but let's get back to Ms. Cruz and your repression where she's concerned.

ME:  Funny, one of the characters in Gothika talked about repression. He said, "The ability to repress is an important survival technique." 

THERAPIST:  Do you believe that?

ME:  More than I believed anything else in this overwrought movie.

THERAPIST:  Hmm. I see our time is up now. We'll come back to this topic soon.

ME:  I know. I've heard Penelope Cruz will be starring in three upcoming flicks -- Sahara, Noel and Head in the Clouds.    

THERAPIST:  I'm increasing our sessions to twice a week.

(Released by Warner Bros./Columbia Pictures and rated "R" for violence, brief language and nudity.)      

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