Jennifer Reese
June 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Ghost Writer

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
128 minutes
Wide Release Date
02/19/10
performer
Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Ewan McGregor, Tom Wilkinson, Olivia Williams
director
Roman Polanski
author
Roman Polanski, Robert Harris
genre
Mystery and Thriller
We gave it a B+

With The Ghost Writer, his intricate and engrossing first novel, John Harwood raises the ghost of the Victorian ghost story, goosing the action with a modern spin. Gerard Freeman, growing up in Australia with his secretive British-born mother, stumbles across a puzzling photograph and later an eerie short story written by his great-grandmother. Given Mom’s violent response to his first discovery — ”Tufts of hair stuck out from her head; the whites of her eyes seemed to be spilling out of their sockets” — Gerard senses that herein lies a clue to her mysterious past. Meanwhile, he acquires a seductive British pen pal named Alice who, over the years, is strangely unavailable whenever Gerard visits England. Add to that a creaky old house, a long-ago love triangle, and some antique radiation instruments, and you’ve got one ghoulishly absorbing read.

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