Home > 2000 - 2009 > Dragonfly


Dragonfly title card

Year - 2002
Studio - Universal Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment
Stars - Kevin Costner, Susanna Thompson, Joe Morton, Ron Rifkin, Linda Hunt, Kathy Bates
Director - Tom Shadyak
Writing Credits - Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson, David Seltzer
Music - John Debny


Joe Darrow (Kevin Costner) and his wife, Emily (Susanna Thompson), are idealistic young doctors. Emily has a fascination for fireflies, inspired by a birthmark in that shape on her shoulder. She, despite Joe's misgivings about the fact that she is pregnant, goes on a humanitarian mission, treating children in the Venezuelan jungle. There, she dies when a bus plunges from a rain soaked cliff. Joe is distraught and immerses himself in his work, despite the hospital administrator's (Joe Morton) advice to take a sabbatical.

Fulfilling a promise to Emily, he visits some of her patients, children in the Oncology ward. One of them, Jeffrey (Robert Bailey, Jr.) is revived from a near-death experience and tells that Emily appeared to him and called out for Joe. Jeffrey obsessively draws an image that he saw in the experience, a squiggly cross shape. Another child, Ben (Jacob Smith), too, draws the same image.

Dragonfly poster

Joe hears about a nun who was fired from the hospital for interviewing patients who had experienced near-death experiences. He seeks her out and she makes a case that Emily is trying to contact him.

To help relieve his pain, he decides to go on a river rafting trip with some colleagues and, while studying a map of that area, he sees markings just like the squiggly crosses drawn by the children. He calls his friend who informs him that the symbols represent waterfalls. Joe connects that with the fact that a picture sent by Emily from Venezuela showed her in front of a towering waterfall. He decides that he must go there to see where she died.

In Venezuela, Joe is flown to the remote jungle area by a young pilot, Victor (Jacob Vargas). He sees the bus, still in the river below the cliff, and local natives take him to the unmarked graves of all the victims of the accident. From the graveyard, he sees the waterfall in Emily's photograph, and runs towards it, despite the warnings from the natives not to enter their village.

Joe runs to the cliff above the fallen buss and impulsively dives into the river. He swims into the bus as rushing water fills it and, as he begins to lose consciousness, sees an image of Emily before him. Before he drowns, Victor rescues him and drags him to the shore. From there, he walks to the jungle village, where the natives point their spears at him menacingly.

Joe desperately shows them the photo of Emily, and they summon an old woman (Ana Garcia) who explains that they had brought the stricken Emily to the village but couldn't save her body, only her soul. She leads Joe to a large hut. Inside is a white infant child, his daughter. She has a tiny dragonfly-shaped birthmark on her foot.

Show Spoilers