Has this ever happened to you? You are standing there, minding your own business, when someone comes up and asks you to share your list of the people, both living and dead, that you would most like to invite to a dinner party. Are you prepared for this? No? Me neither. I don’t have my list finalized, but I can tell you that one person I know would be there is my all time favorite actor, Alan Rickman. And sadly, this week we say goodbye to this great man, after his death from cancer. A light has gone out in the world.
I discovered Alan Rickman decades ago, when he starred in one of my all time favorite movies, Truly Madly Deeply. If you haven’t seen this film, you need to run out right away and do so. It’s quirky and sublimely beautiful, always a potent combination.
Watch this short video clip from the movie, and prepare to be uplifted. But first, let me set the stage a bit. Alan Rickman plays Jamie, a musician who has recently died, to his chagrin, of a sore throat. His partner Nina is devastated. Until Jamie comes back as a ghost. This clip is from the reunion scene.
One of the things I really love about this movie, aside from the amazing acting of Alan Rickman and Julia Stevenson, is that the movie is not about the obvious subject of how a man can come back as a ghost. It explores a much more interesting question – imagine your dead lover has come back as a ghost – what happens next? And what a great question! Because we’d all wish for our dead lover to come back to us. But have we thought about what happens next? I won’t tell you what the answer is, because you need to see this film. You can see the entire film here, (if you don’t mind the Portuguese subtitles.)
From this movie, Alan Rickman went on to another fantastic role as the outrageously funny Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, and then on to international stardom in such films as Die Hard, and the Harry Potter series. He usually plays the bad guy, and in fact I’ve been waiting for years and years to see him cast as the villain in a James Bond movie. Because frankly, those guys are so over the top as to be uninteresting. While Alan Rickman’s characters are nuanced, with hidden, seething depths suggesting layers and layers of unexplored qualities – old agonies, pains and passions, a whole muddle of psychology, with a touch of irreverence thrown in to round things off nicely. His acting was truly, madly deeply. Can’t you just imagine him as a Bond bad guy? Wouldn’t you love to really understand what makes a man like that?
Sadly, we will never know. RIP Alan Rickman. Thank you for the inspiration of your acting. You have made the world a much better place. I hope you can still come to my dinner party.