Meet Joe Black

Tagline : Sooner or later everyone does.

Runtime : 178 mins

Genre : Fantasy Drama Romance

Vote Rating : 7.3/10

Budget : 90 million $ USD

Revenue : 142.9 million $ USD


Movie Website

Plot : When the grim reaper comes to collect the soul of megamogul Bill Parrish, he arrives with a proposition: Host him for a "vacation" among the living in trade for a few more days of existence. Parrish agrees, and using the pseudonym Joe Black, Death begins taking part in Parrish's daily agenda and falls in love with the man's daughter. Yet when Black's holiday is over, so is Parrish's life.

Cast Members

Reviews

***Captivating commentary on love, life and death*** The Grim Reaper (i.e. the Angel of Death) comes to take billionaire industrialist Bill Parrish (Anthony Hopkins) but instead decides to take a holiday in the corporeal universe by possessing the body of a young man (Brad Pitt). Death's deal with Parrish is that, as long as he's entertained, he'll delay Bill's death. Mr. Death materializes as a mysterious stranger with child-like qualities known as 'Joe Black.' His "holiday" is complicated when he falls for Parrish's daughter (Claire Forlani). "Meet Joe Black" (1998) is a re-imagining of the 1934 film "Death Takes a Holiday" (which I've never seen). It has the confidence to take its time at almost 3 hours, but is so captivating that it feels shorter than most 90-minute mindless flicks. The plot is reminiscent of other good "fish out of water" stories like Spock in Star Trek, “Starman” (1984), etc. Yes, it's outlandish but the film expertly presents the bizarre situation in a totally believable manner. In other words, this is indeed a serious drama, which nicely balances out the heavy moments with lighter touches. I would compare it to "The Green Mile" (1999), another long drama with supernatural touches and wholly captivating. Despite its fantastical premise, "Meet Joe Black" consistently offers profound insights to the most vital topics of the human experience — love, life, death and numerous others, e.g. betrayal, rivalry, hostility, comeuppance and the mysterious beyond. One good example is when Parrish's son-in-law (Jeffrey Tambor) offers a definition of love to Joe Black: To know the worst thing about someone and it's okay, presuming they’re penitent. This is just one example; the film is filled with such insights. "Meet Joe Black" cost $90 million to make and only made half of it back at the USA box office. Fortunately it has gone on to garner an enthusiastic following and rightly so 'cause this is a near-masterpiece of filmmaking and genuinely moving. I consider myself a masculine man, but tears flowed through approximately 1/3 of the runtime. This is a sign of a potent and affecting picture. It's a travesty that dreck like "Pirates of the Caribbean" makes gazillions of dollars and garbage like "American Beauty" are hailed as masterpieces while true gems like "Joe Black" are often overlooked. The good thing is that time was on Joe Black's side. The word got out. The film runs 2 hours, 58 minutes, and was shot in Warwick, Rhode Island (Aldrich Mansion); Manhattan; and Teaneck, New Jersey. GRADE: A/A-

Joe Black ( Brad Pitt ) as the Grim Reaper arrives on the doorstep of wealthy businessman Bill Parrish ( Anthony Hopkins ) after borrowing a body of a man killed that morning. After experiencing chest pains and hearing voices Bill Parish is due to die and Joe has come to escort him to the other side. Bill, playing for more time, engages with Joe and manages to persuade him to spend a little more time on earth. Joe’s interest in humanity and experiencing life is particularly heightened when he and Bill’s daughter Susan start to form a relationship.  “Meet Joe Black” centres more on the relationship of Joe and Susan rather than Deaths design for Bill. As a Romeo and Juliet style story of forbidden love, “Meet Joe Black” tries hard to play on audience emotions. Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins give solid performances but the lengthy run time makes it hard to sustain interest in both the story and any of the characters. The premise is quite good and the Stella cast try to make the most of the concept of the spiritual firepower of love. However it’s over complication and unnecessary sub plot ( bid to take over Bill’s company) just makes “ Meet Joe Black” unnecessarily long.

Billionaire "Parrish" (Sir Anthony Hopkins) is feeling a bit under the weather as his birthday approaches, and a potential corporate merger looms too. His daughter "Sarah" (Claire Forlani) is, meantime, rather keen on one of his hotshot employees "Drew" (Jake Weber) who is a driving force behind the impending and lucrative business deal. "Parrish" is clearly unwell, and after a scare that looks like an heart attack, he finds a new character in his life. The blonde and piercing-eyed Brad Pitt whose purpose here is pretty clear to us, but not yet to his new friend. Hastily named "Joe Black" the older man starts to act as a sort of guide for the younger, who clearly his little knowledge of how the world works. "Black" starts to feature much more prominently in the life of the mogul and that causes consternation as he begins to display a behaviour that really contrasts with that which made him successful in the first place. That causes quite a bit of chagrin for the ambitious "Drew" but not as much as the attentions "Black" is now paying to "Claire" - and that are slowly becoming reciprocated, too. "Parrish" has, by now, begun to realise who his dashing and charismatic companion is - and has concerns about the impact this might have on his daughter should she find out. Can the pair find a way to reconcile what must be done with what they want to be done? It's quite a solid and promising story and there's quite an effective dynamic between the under-stated Pitt and Sir Anthony. It's just far too long, though. It could easily lose an hour and the plot wouldn't suffer. It's almost like a three act play that takes far too long to get going, and is really only redeemed by a delightfully conspiratorial last half hour. It's a good looking film but is too dialogue-heavy and I found myself wading through too much of it to really enjoy it. Sorry.

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