Hello Ghost (2023)

Hello Ghost (2023)

An insensitive adaptation that tries to skip straight to the punchline

3.0

Movie

Indonesia
Indonesian
Comedy, Drama
2023
INDRA GUNAWAN
Enzy Storia, Hesti Purwadinata, Indro
114 min

TLDR

Goodbye, movie.

What it's about

After his last suicide attempt, lonely Kresna Subatki (Onadio Leonardo) wakes up in a hospital, and realizes he sees four ghosts that won’t leave him alone.

The take

Not to be confused with the Taiwanese remake, Hello Ghost is the Indonesian adaptation of the 2010 Korean hit. There is one thing to appreciate in this film– it’s clear that the cast, particularly Kresna and his four ghosts, have an easygoing dynamic and playful chemistry with each other. However, the film botches our introduction with their characters. Instead of acknowledging his struggles, Hello Ghost tries to skip straight to the ghosts’ antics and the romance between Kresna and Linda. Without that character set-up, the film’s jokes fall flat, and comes across as an insensitive depiction of suicide and mental illness.

What stands out

Suicide is a difficult discussion, but the way the Indonesian adaptation of Hello Ghost discusses suicide feels like they didn’t even try. Kresna is a broke orphan, so his isolation and poverty can make it hard to enjoy life, but this film doesn’t even attempt to present his struggles with care and empathy. With his diagnosis of schizophrenia, we don’t see that his seeing ghosts is a coping mechanism to his trauma and his life’s difficulties. Instead, the film just launches straight into the suicide and the ghosts’ antics, leaving no space for the film to actually care about its characters.

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