Just like Heaven (film)

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Just like Heaven
Just like Heaven poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMark Waters
Screenplay by
Based onIf Only It Were True
by Marc Levy
Produced byWalter F. Parkes
Laurie MacDonald
CinematographyDaryn Okada
Edited byBruce Green
Music byRolfe Kent
Distributed byDreamWorks Pictures
Release date
  • September 16, 2005 (2005-09-16)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$58 million
Box office$102.9 million

Just like Heaven is a 2005 American romantic comedy fantasy-adventure film directed by Mark Waters, starring Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, and Jon Heder. It is based on the 1999 French novel If Only It Were True (Et si c'était vrai...) by Marc Levy.

Steven Spielberg obtained the rights to produce the film from the book.[1] The film was released in the United States on September 16, 2005. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $102 million.


Elizabeth Masterson, an emergency room physician in San Francisco whose work is everything, is in a car accident while on her way to a blind date at her sister's. Three months later, landscape architect David Abbott, needing a fresh start after his wife's death, takes a sublet on Elizabeth's apartment.

Elizabeth begins to appear in the apartment, and both are confused. She thinks he's a squatter, and he thinks she broke in. They soon realize she moves through walls and objects. Elizabeth doesn't know who she is, and insists she's not dead. David unsuccessfully tries to have her spirit exorcised.

David enlists the help of a psychic bookstore clerk, Darryl, who says Elizabeth isn't really dead. He also tells David he's clearly got a blocked heart, and needs to let go of the woman who was previously in his life. When Elizabeth says he should get over being dumped, he storms out, and Darryl tells Elizabeth to not disrespect the dead. She finds David and he explains about his wife.

As only David can see and hear her, others think he is hallucinating and talking to himself. Elizabeth asks him to help her discover who she really is. David talks to her neighbours but they didn't know her.

Checking a restaurant she recognizes, a man has a medical emergency, so Elizabeth helps David save his life. Suddenly, she remembers being a doctor, and they go to the nearest hospital, where it all comes flooding back. Dr. Fran, her mentor, takes him to Elizabeth, who is in a coma. When David touches her hand, Elizabeth feels it, meaning she's still connected to her body.

Elizabeth's sister Abby arrives, and Dr. Brett notifies her that Elizabeth signed a DNR order. He asks her to sign off on disconnecting life support, and she says she'll consider it.

David and Elizabeth bond. When he takes her to a beautiful landscaped garden he designed, she tells him she senses she has been there before. In fact, she was dreaming of the garden (in the opening scenes of the film), while cat-napping during a long shift.

When David's told he's been offered a long term lease, he realises Elizabeth will be taken off life support. He tries to prevent it by going to Abby's to tell her that she is communicating with him. While there, her niece Lily can see Elizabeth.

David begs Abby to keep her alive, but she has already signed the papers, with life support ending the next day. As a last ditch effort, David blurts out Abby's secret from her wedding day, freaking her out so she drives him out of her house.

Elizabeth opts to spend her last night with David in the apartment. The next morning, he is determined to prevent her death by stealing her body from the hospital. He enlists his friend/therapist Jack to help. It turns out Jack is Abby's former college boyfriend, and the two had setup David and Elizabeth for the blind date on the night of the accident; David can see her because they were meant to meet. He admits to Jack and Elizabeth that he loves her.

Security guards catch them trying to steal Elizabeth's body. As they pull Jack away from her, her breathing tube comes off. Elizabeth is now dying, and David frantically kisses her body, while her spirit fades away. Her heartbeat returns and she awakens from the coma. She recognizes Abby, but not David, and he sadly leaves.

Sometime later, Elizabeth moves back into her apartment. Drawn to the roof, she finds David, who has transformed it into a landscaped garden. He reveals he'd gotten in using the spare key her spirit had shown him. When Elizabeth asks for her key back, their hands touch, her memory of the events during her coma are restored, and they kiss happily.

The final scene fades away from the rooftop to show Darryl staring into a snow globe, happy with "seeing" how things have turned out.



Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 54% of 151 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.6/10. The website's consensus reads: "Delightfully sweet like a lollipop, Just Like Heaven is a dreamy romantic comedy that may give you a toothache when it attempts to broach difficult end of life issues by throwing a cherry on top."[2] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 47 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[3]

Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper, and A. O. Scott all gave it favorable reviews, agreeing that the plot had logical flaws that were somewhat overcome by good dialogue and characterization.

Box office[edit]

Just like Heaven grossed $48.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $54.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $102.9 million, against a budget of $58 million.[4]

Theme song[edit]

The title of this film is also that of a popular 1987 song, "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure. Singer Katie Melua recorded a cover version of the song for the soundtrack of the film. Melua's version is played over the opening titles, and has lines such as "she said" changed to "he said" to maintain a heterosexual narrative. The original version by The Cure, as well as the remainder of Melua's version, are played over the closing credits.

The orchestral score was written by Rolfe Kent, and orchestrated by Tony Blondal.


Track No. Title Writer and music composer Performer Producer Courtesy (TM/C) License
01 "Just Like Heaven" Robert Smith, Boris Williams, Simon Gallup, Paul Thompson, and Laurence Tolhurst Katie Melua Ralph Sall and Mike Batt Dramatico Records
02 "Lust for Life" David Bowie and Iggy Pop Kay Hanley Ralph Sall
03 "Strange Invitation" Beck Beck Geffen Records Universal Music Enterprises
04 "Good Times Roll" Ric Ocasek The Cars Elektra Entertainment Group Warner Music Group
(Film & TV)
05 "I Put a Spell on You" Jay Hawkins Screamin'
Jay Hawkins
Epic Records Sony/BMG Music
06 "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" Barrett Strong and Norman J. Whitfield Pete Yorn Ralph Sall Columbia Records
(Pete Yorn appearance)
07 "Bad Faith"
"Fuji Dawn"
Andrew Dorfman Megathor Music
08 "Tomorrow"
(from the Broadway musical
Martin Charnin and Charles Strouse Reese Witherspoon
09 "Ghostbusters" Ray Parker Jr. Bowling for Soup Ralph Sall and Jaret Reddick Jive Records
(Bowling For Soup appearance)
10 "Big Brown Eyes" Ron Hacker Ron Hacker
11 "Moonbeam Lullabye" Daniel May Daniel May Marc Ferrari/Matersource
12 "Jungle Fever" Bill Ador The Chakachas Universal Music S.A.
Universal Music Enterprises
13 "Brass in Pocket" Chrissie Hynde & James Honeyman-Scott Kelis Ralph Sall LaFace Records/
The Zomba Label
(Kelis appearance)
14 "Swim with Me" Murray Cook, Jeff Fatt, Anthony Field, Greg Page, and Paul Paddick The Wiggles The Wiggles Production PTY Limited
15 "Bad Case of Lovin' You" John Martin Emerson Hart Ralph Sall
16 "Spooky" Buddy Buie, James Cobb, Harry Middlebrooks, and Mike Shapiro Imogen Heap Ralph Sall and Imogen Heap Megaphone Records
(Imogen Heap appearance)
Zync Music Inc.
17 "Colors" Amos Lee Amos Lee Blue Note Records EMI Film and Television Music
18 "Just Like Heaven" The Cure Elektra Entertainment Group
Warner Music Group
Film & TV Licensing
& Fiction Records Limited/
Polydor Ltd. (U.K.)
Universal Music Enterprises

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "If Only It Were True (Et si c'était vrai #1)". Goodreads Inc.
  2. ^ "Just like Heaven". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 2023-01-25. Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ "Just like Heaven". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
  4. ^ "Just like Heaven". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 2023-01-25.Edit this at Wikidata

External links[edit]