What it’s about
Disguised as a human, Grim Reaper Joe Black comes to Earth to escort back the soul of media tycoon William Parrish. But Joe’s fascinating journey ends with him falling in love with William’s daughter.
What you will learn from watching it
This is one of those films that most definitely will make you think specifically about the merits of love at first sight. And the way it goes about making you question the merits of it is simply genius.
A man and a woman meet in a coffee shop and really hit it off, then unbeknownst to that woman the man gets knocked over by a car. He is dead but death wanting to experience life takes over the man’s body and becomes Joe Black.
What follows is a fascinating love story, the woman turns out to be Susan Parrish the daughter of William Parrish who death has decided will be the man to teach him about the living world.
The question is does Susan Parrish love the man from the coffee shop or does she love death? This film is an investigation into that answer and a fascinating one at that, which will most definitely make you think.
Is the story any good
The story is loosely based on the 1934 classic novel death takes a holiday. However, Martin Brest who directed this film when talking about it mentioned that for years he had wanted to bring this film to life but struggled to find a way to make the premise work on screen, which likely explains why it went through eight different writers before it finally came to screen.
The premise is a fascinating one, and is along the lines of what would happen if death fell in love with the living and the only way for them to be together was for death to take the life of the person he loves but the person that he loves does not know that he is death, but instead thinks that death is the man that they fell in love with at first sight in a coffee shop one day?
Pretty long-winded and pretty complex which is no doubt why it went through eight different writers, it is also likely why the runtime is a staggering 181 minutes for what is at heart a very basic story.
But at its heart this is a very beautiful story, about a father’s love for his daughter, and in reality that’s what this film is a story about a father fighting to keep his daughter out of the hands of death.
This is very much an arty film but Anthony Hopkins performance is simply superb, Brad Pitt also puts in a stonking effort as death. The soundtrack for the movie composed by Thomas Newman is also extremely beautiful.
Meaning this is a beautiful story which is backed up with a beautiful soundtrack with excellent acting by the main characters. Which means yes the story is very good.
With a brilliant premise and a brilliant story normally I would be saying if you like stories about love then you should watch this film.
However, it should be noted that this film very much needs to be watched with a pinch of salt mentality, that means if you are a person that likes to tear a film apart then in all probability you will find this film a drag.
But if you are a person who is able to watch a film and see it for what it is, and you enjoy watching films about love then you will most definitely love this film.
That means this film gets a solid thumbs up from me, with a reminder that this is a three hour long love story.
Director: Martin Brest
Writer: Ron Osborn, Jeff Reno, Kevin Wade and Bo Goldman
Genre: drama, romance and fantasy
Runtime: 181 minutes