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Chances Are

Chances Are title card

Year - 1989
Studio - TriStar
Stars - Cybill Shepherd, Robert Downey Jr., Ryan O'Neal, Mary Stuart Masterson
Director - Emile Ardolino
Writing Credits - Perry Howze, Randy Howze
Music - Maurice Jarre


Louis and Corrine Jeffries (Christopher McDonald and Cybill Shepherd) have a picture perfect marriage that is shattered when Louis is struck by a car and killed. He arrives in Heaven dazed, and demands to return to his unfinished life. An angel allows him the chance to be reborn on Earth, and he hurriedly selects a mother about to give birth in Cleveland to be close to his Washington D.C. home. The distracted angel, however, neglects to give him his an inoculation that would have prevented the possibility of any memories of his prior life.

Twenty-two years later, Louis, now as young Alex Finch (Robert Downey, Jr.), is a graduating journalism student from Yale. He travels to Washington D.C., determined to get a job with the Washington Post. Managing Editor Ben Bradlee (Henderson Forsythe) won't hire an inexperienced reporter, but Post reporter Phillip Train (Ryan O'Neal) is impressed with Alex and invites him to dinner. Phillip was Louis Jeffries' best friend, and they arrive at the home of Corrine, with whom he has maintained a strong platonic relationship since Louis' death.

Chances Are poster

Alex meets and is attracted to Miranda, Corrine's daughter born soon after Louis died. But he starts experiencing memories of his previous life with Corrine, and soon realizes who he was. Alex tries to communicate this to Corrine who is incredulous. At the same time, he now resists the advances of His "daughter" Miranda.

Eventually, Corrine becomes convinced of her husband's reincarnation and she tries to prepare herself for a new relationship with him, as a twenty-two year old man. As they are undressing and embracing, Phillip enters the house and is shocked by the scene. He and Alex fight, and Phillip is knocked unconscious. Alex realizes that Phillip is in love with Corrine and that his own love for her cannot work.

He seeks out Miranda, who is in court as a trial lawyer. But seeing the presiding judge brings back a prior life memory of having witnessed the judge accept a bribe to release a notorious gangster. He runs the bench to confront the judge, is attacked by bailiffs, and is knocked unconscious in a fall.

As Corrine is at Alex's bedside in the hospital, an orderly prepares to give him an injection. It is the neglectful angel, finally giving him the memory erasing serum. Alex awakes and he remembers Corrine only as Miranda's mother.

Corrine and Phillip are married, and Alex gets his job with the Post as a result of his scoop on the corrupt judge.

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