Meet Joe Black seemed almost fated to fail when it was released in 1998, but this romantic fantasy--a remake of 1934's Death Takes a Holiday--deserves a chance at life after box-office death. Although many moviegoers were turned off by director Martin Brest's overindulgent three-hour running time, those who gear into its deliberate pace will find that Meet Joe Black offers ample reward for your attention. Brad Pitt plays Death with a capital D, enjoying some time on Earth by inhabiting the body of a young man who'd been killed in a shockingly sudden pedestrian-auto... impact. Before long, Death has ingratiated himself with a wealthy industrialist (Anthony Hopkins) and pursues romance with the man's beautiful daughter (newcomer Claire Forlani), whom he'd briefly encountered while still an earthbound human. Under the assumed identity of "Joe Black", he samples all the pleasures that corporeal life has to offer--power, romance, sex and such enticing pleasures as peanut butter by the spoonful. But Death has a job to do, and Meet Joe Black addresses the heart-wrenching dilemma that arises when either father or daughter (the plot keeps us guessing) must confront his or her inevitable demise. The film takes its own sweet time to establish this emotional crisis and the love that binds Hopkins's semi-dysfunctional family so closely together. But if you've stuck with the story this far, you may find yourself surprisingly affected. And if Meet Joe Black has really won you over, you'll more than appreciate the care and affection that gives the film a depth and richness that so many critics chose to ignore. --Jeff Shannon [show more]
Every time I watch this film, it honestly strikes a deeper chord with me. Every time I watch this film back, I find something new that I never saw before, something so raw, and innocent and pure. Watching Meet Joe Black is like watching love stripped down - you see it naked and trembling before you, and yet at the same time alive and thriving in all of the characters of this wonderfully moving masterpiece by Martin Brest.
When I first watched the film I was so intrigued as to the angle it took - it is a film which truly explores human emtions, and it does it unlike any other I have seen. Death has taken the form of a living man, and Pitt offers an astounding performance in this role, who has forced himself into the life of William Parish, played incredibly by Hopkins, a man on death's doorstep approaching his 65th birthday. His main purpose is to experience the other side of death, the emotion, the involvment, the human element. Through the course of the film Brest takes us deeper and deeper into the Parish family until we feel like one of them ourselves, and we can feel the presence of Joe Black, his unnerving watchfulness, the unsolicited air he carries, his child-like naivite. He enters the family at such a crucial point, and only William Parish knows who he is. The rest of the family, his friends, his colleagues - all left astounded as to the identity of this man who has diesrupted and affected their lives so.
But whatever Death expected, what he found was more than he could believe, more than he could comprehend - and she came in the form of beautiful Susan Parish.
Through the eyes of one who has never experienced feelings, we find within ourselves the most extraordinary, the most moving and uplifting emotions - love that sets our souls ablaze, tears at our hearts and beings, a love that hurts and blinds, casting all else aside, a love that erupts between two people who can never be together: the most painful emotion of all, the most dangerous form of love.
This film, as well as being incredibly emotional, is important in an age where people perhaps take love for granted, or may have forgotten what love means. Watch this film, and watch love burst open in front of you, a rose in bloom, alive and needing, yearning to be in your heart. Watch this film and know what love really, truly is, and be reminded of what it is to be in love. Watch this film, and prepare to love again.
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A wealthy tycoon whose life is orderly and happy finds his household disrupted by the arrival of a young man called Joe Black. His daughter falls for the young man innocent of the fact that Joe is Death, visiting Earth to take the life of her father...
Media tycoon William Parrish (Anthony Hopkins) is approaching his sixty-fifth birthday when he encounters Death (Brad Pitt) himself. Parrish is offered a few extra days of life if he allows the Grim Reaper into his home and, keen to finish off an important company merger, agrees, introducing his new guest to friends and family as Joe Black. Joe begins to fall in love with Parrish's daughter, Susan (Claire Forlani), who is engaged to Drew (Jake Weber), Parrish's deputy. When Parrish decides against the merger, Drew stages a boardroom coup and attempts to oust the tycoon.