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
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$58 million
Box office$102.8 million[1]

Just Like Heaven is a 2005 American romantic comedy fantasy 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.[2] The film was released in the United States and Canada on September 16, 2005.


Elizabeth Masterson (Reese Witherspoon), a young emergency medicine physician in San Francisco whose work is her whole life, is in a serious car accident while on her way to a blind date. Three months later, David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo), a landscape architect recovering from the sudden death of his wife, moves into the apartment that had been Elizabeth's, after 'discovering' it in what seems to be a fateful happenstance.

Elizabeth's spirit begins to appear to David in the apartment with ghostly properties and abilities that make it clear that something is not right. She can suddenly appear and disappear, walk or move through walls and objects, and once takes over his actions. When they meet, they are both surprised, as Elizabeth is still unaware of her recent history and refuses to think she is dead. David tries to have her spirit exorcised from the apartment, but to no avail. Since only David can see and hear her, others think that he is hallucinating, getting back into his alcoholism, and talking to himself.

David and Elizabeth begin to bond, as much as that is possible, and he takes her out of town to a beautiful landscaped garden he designed. Elizabeth tells him she senses she has been there before, and in fact, the garden was something she was dreaming of in the opening scenes of the film, where she was awakened by a colleague from cat-napping after working a 26-hour shift in the hospital.

Together, assisted by a psychic bookstore clerk, Darryl (Jon Heder), Elizabeth and David find out who she is, what happened to her, and why they are connected. She is not dead, but in a coma, her body being kept on life support at the hospital where she used to work. When David discovers that in accordance with her living will, she will soon be allowed to die, he tries to prevent this by telling Elizabeth's sister, Abby (Dina Waters), that he can see her and what the situation involves. One of Elizabeth's young nieces is revealed to be able to sense her presence as well.

Abby thinks David is mentally disturbed and drives him out of her house. Desperate, David decides to prevent Elizabeth's death by stealing her from the hospital. He asks his friend/therapist Jack (Donal Logue) to help him, and Jack is found to be Abby's former college boyfriend who had set up a blind date for David with Elizabeth on the night of the accident - the reason David can see Elizabeth is that they were meant to meet. He then admits to Jack and Elizabeth that he loves her and that is the reason he does not want her to die; he has gotten past the death of his wife. While stealing Elizabeth, they are quickly discovered in the hospital. The security guards find them, pulling Jack away from Elizabeth, but when he is grabbed, her breathing tube is removed. David gets away from the guards a bit longer, but Elizabeth is now dying. David frantically kisses the dying Elizabeth, breathing some air into her lungs, while her spirit begins to fade away. Then, amazingly, her heartbeat returns and she miraculously awakens from the coma. However, the recovered Elizabeth does not remember anything that happened during the coma or any of the events with David, who leaves the hospital in sadness.

Sometime later, Elizabeth goes back to her apartment. She is drawn up to the roof of the building, which has been transformed into a beautiful landscaped garden. She finds David there, who has gotten in with a spare key Elizabeth's spirit had shown him. Just as he is about to leave, she asks for her key back. When their hands touch, her memory of the events during her coma are restored, and they kiss.

The final scene fades away from the rooftop to show Darryl staring into a snow globe.


Critical reception[edit]

The film holds a 55% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 151 reviews, with an average rating of 5.62/10. The 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."[3] However, the most prominent critics – such as Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper, and A. O. Scott – gave it favorable reviews;[3] they all agreed that the plot had logical flaws that were somewhat overcome by good dialogue and characterization.

The performances of Witherspoon, Ruffalo, and Heder were all generally well received. Heder's appearance helped to debunk an urban legend that the actor had died shortly after filming Napoleon Dynamite.[4]

The DVD release in February 2006 was given unusually strong promotional publicity.[citation needed]

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. ^ "Just Like Heaven (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  2. ^ "If Only It Were True (Et si c'était vrai #1)". Goodreads Inc.
  3. ^ a b "Just Like Heaven (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  4. ^ "Napoleon Die-namite". Snopes.com. Retrieved October 19, 2012.

External links[edit]