Truly, Madly, Deeply

This article is about the 1990 film. For the song by Savage Garden, see Truly Madly Deeply.
Truly, Madly, Deeply

Reproduction poster
Directed by Anthony Minghella
Produced by Robert Cooper
Written by Anthony Minghella
Music by Barrington Pheloung
Cinematography Remi Adefarasin
Edited by John Stothart
BBC Films
Distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release dates
  • 10 November 1990 (1990-11-10) (BFI London Film Festival)
  • 3 May 1991 (1991-05-03) (US)
  • 16 August 1991 (1991-08-16) (UK)
Running time
106 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $1,554,742[2]

Truly, Madly, Deeply is a 1990 British fantasy music drama film made for the BBC's Screen Two series, by BBC Films, Lionheart and Winston Pictures. The film, written and directed by Anthony Minghella, stars Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman.


Nina, an interpreter, is beside herself with grief at the recent death of her boyfriend, Jamie, a cellist. When she is on the verge of despair, Jamie reappears as a "ghost" and the couple are reconciled. The screenplay never clarifies whether this occurs in reality, or merely in Nina's imagination. Nina is ecstatic, but Jamie's behaviour – turning up the central heating to stifling levels, moving furniture around and inviting back "ghost friends" to watch videos – gradually infuriates her, and their relationship deteriorates. She meets Mark, a psychologist, to whom she is attracted, but she is unwilling to become involved with him because of Jamie's continued presence. Nina continues to love Jamie but is conflicted by his self-centred behaviour and ultimately wonders out loud, "Was it always like this?" Over Nina’s objections, Jamie decides to leave to allow her to move on. At the end of the film, Jamie watches Nina leave with Mark and one of his fellow ghosts asks, "Well?" and Jamie responds, "I think so... Yes." At this point the central conceit of the movie has become clear: Jamie came back specifically to help Nina get over him by tarnishing her idealised memory of him.[3]



Minghella said he wrote the script specifically as "a vehicle for [Stevenson] to express all her talents. She plays piano, likes dancing and has a quirky side to her which she usually can't express in the classical parts she is asked for."[4] The title comes from a word game played by the main characters, in which they challenge each other to by turns repeat and add to a series of adverbs describing the depths of their mutual affection. The working title for the film was 'Cello', a reference not only to the cello within the film, but also to the Italian word 'cielo' for heaven. The film was made-for-TV, and produced in a 28-day shooting schedule for just $650,000.[3]

It was shot on location in London and Bristol, with external shots in Highgate and on the South Bank. Stevenson said in 2012 that it was the favourite role of her career,[5][6][7] commenting that the shoot was like a party. [5]


The film was critically successful, winning several awards including a BAFTA for best original screenplay. (Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson received Best Actor and Best Actress, and Anthony Minghella Most Promising Newcomer, from the 1991 Evening Standard British Film Awards.[8]) It became a hit in the American arthouse circuit and Minghella subsequently was offered work by every major studio in Hollywood.[4] The movie's combination of serious themes with comic scenes, music and strong performances from the actors was noted by critics. Roger Ebert called it "a Ghost for grownups" (a common comparison because of the shared theme of lovers returning as ghosts and the concurrent releases of the movies) and considered the movie to reveal "some truths that are, the more you think about them, really pretty profound."[9] Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 72% of the professional critics have given the film a positive review.[10] At Metacritic the film has weighted mean score of 72 out of 100 based on 16 reviews.[11]



See also


  1. "TRULY MADLY DEEPLY (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 1991-07-04. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
  2. Truly, Madly, Deeply at Box Office Mojo
  3. 1 2 Anthony Minghella, Commentary with the MGM DVD release
  4. 1 2 Mees, Jaap. "Anthony Minghella". Talking Pictures. Retrieved 2008-04-08.
  5. 1 2 "Flashback: Juliet Stevenson on working with Anthony Minghella in 1990", Daily Telegraph 2 Mar 2012
  6. Alan Rickman: The Unauthorised Biography (2012) Maureen Paton, Random House, ISBN 9781448132645
  7. Film London
  8. "Evening Standard British Film Awards 1990-2001", London Evening Standard, 10 January 2003.
  9. Roger Ebert, Truly, Madly, Deeply, 24 May 1991
  10. Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991) at Rotten Tomatoes.
  11. Truly Madly Deeply at Metacritic.
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