read another review of Dragonfly
Slowly, he begins to see reminders of Emily everywhere in the form of a dragonfly - her personal totem. He visits her former patients in the oncology ward, and is shocked when he witnesses a child's near-death experience. The child later tells him that when he was flat-lined, Emily told him to give Joe a message. Frustratingly, the child cannot remember what she said. He and another child also begin drawing what looks like a 'wavy cross' almost compulsively. It is clearly a message, but Joe cannot decipher it. He is at the brink of madness when the mystery finally begins to unfold.
This movie is haunting and ethereal; a journey into our perceptions of this world and our life in the next. We want so desperately to believe that Joe is receiving messages from his dead wife, but our own grounding in reality keeps us, and Joe, from truly believing until the final climax. Halfway through the film, I thought there were only two possible ways it could end, and I didn't like either one of them. But, despite an overlong beginning and slightly predictable middle, this movie really surprised me. It doesn't gain any real sense of momentum until the later half, but it is a journey worth taking. The South American scenery was breathtaking as well, and tended to captivate me with the same spell an issue of National Geographic holds.
I must admit that I, along with much of the film-going population, thought that Kevin Costner's glory days were long gone, but he makes Joe believable, if not always as animated as I would like. The always-excellent Kathy Bates' role. as the comforting lesbian neighbour. adds nicely to the story's depth. Emily's role, however, seems slightly stilted. We feel like we should have known her, and that her death might have meant more to us if we had. Despite her strange decision to leave her husband for the South American jungle while she was pregnant, she seems genuinely just too good to be true. For her to exist as a real person, I think she should have had some perceivable faults.
Like the character of Emily, the purpose of this movie seems high, but it is somewhat underdeveloped. There is much that could have been said, done, and portrayed, but so much remains within the shadows.