Soulmate was a film with the makings of all the things I hate. Romance, an unlikely ghost story, supporting characters that seemed to have been plucked from The Archers.
Widowed, grieving and recovering from a suicide attempt, Audrey (Anna Walton) rents a cottage in Wales and tries to put herself together again. She is shown around by the enthusiastic Theresa, who lives nearby, and half-grudgingly befriends her and her husband Daniel (Christopher Walken lookalike Nick Brimble).
But it’s not long before strange noises start to happen around the house at night. Audrey takes to sleeping with an axe in her bed, and tries in vain to open the door to the mysterious upstairs room, which apparently has been locked since the previous owner died.
The story then unfolds fairly predictably for a while: it is, of course, the previous owner’s ghost who’s haunting the place, and no one believes that Audrey is anything other than delusional when she tells them she’s seen – and even spoken to – the deceased Mr. Talbot.
Audrey and the ghost strike up an unlikely friendship, and gradually she starts to get her life back. But how will he react when she decides to leave?
Like I said, a fairly predictable storyline with lots of unlikely scenarios. I should have hated it. So why did I enjoy it so much?
I think it was probably due in part to Walton’s excellent performance; she made Audrey’s character believeable, and she was a pleasure to watch. The scenery is also beautiful, reminiscent of biting winds and roaring fires tucked away in the Welsh countryside.
And there’s a kind of thoughtfulness to this film that redeems its mildly ridiculous plot. It’s not a straightforward romance, or another deserted-country-cottage horror; it’s an exploration of human relationships and how they can be broken down.
I think this is one of my new favourite films to watch with a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night. And I recommend that you do the same.
8/10 – Neither an average ghost story nor an average romance
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