It's difficult to imagine how the New Zealander movie Dean Spanley got made. It's an unconventional story to say the least. I'm not sure how I would classify it. Is it a drama, comedy, or supernatural mystery? Take a dash of reincarnation, a pinch of eastern spiritualism, and a sprinkling of Edwardian charm, then mix. The result is an unusual and imaginative film.
I found myself bored for the first half hour, and not quite understanding where the movie was going. I was about to stop watching before the movie took an unexpected turn. Without giving too much away, this is a story of remembering those people and creatures that have been important in our lives and whose memories have stayed in our hearts. It's a nuanced and heartfelt movie without being cloying or sentimental.
The casts includes Jeremy Northam, Sam Neill, Bryan Brown, Judy Parfitt, and Peter O'Toole. All the performances are wonderful, but the work of O'Toole and Neill are near perfection.