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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.53%
Worth A Look26.04%
Average: 19.53%
Pretty Bad: 15.38%
Total Crap: 19.53%

11 reviews, 103 user ratings

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Meet Joe Black
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by Thom

"Fall in love with a mysterious stranger."
3 stars

What could have been an intriguing late twenty-first century take on the medieval personification of abstract ideas, such as Death, or Mercy, is hopelessy derailed as it becomes a love story about an incarnated force that discovers human love. Of course its just a metaphor for us ACTUAL humans and that's where the crux of this movie lies.

Brad Pitt stars opposite Claire Forlani and Anthony Hopkins in this adaptation of the medieval mystery play. Pitt plays the personification of death and plays it very well. Although there are moments where it looks like Pitt is just going through a series of acting exercises, the cumulative effect is very charming a la Chaplin. The baroque flourishes that emerge generously in Pitt's perfomance make it a pleasure to watch.
If you want to fall in love with a mysterious stranger, you can't get much more mysterious then "times infinity to the depths of forever and that is how long I've been around".

The story is not complex, nor are the subplots. The whole script seems to be just a thin scaffold to showcase the process of falling in love with the person with whom lightening strikes. And as the adage goes, it only strikes once. In this case, the fated lovers are Death, played by Pitt and Susan, played by Claire Forlani.

Death takes a body and wants a tour of human life. He chooses one man on the verge of a heart attack and trades him a few more weeks of life if he'll act as a tour guide. The potential conflicts of this plot are not developed and all the rough spots are glossed over smoothly because... its not really about Death incarnating and wanting to experience life, its about Susan and the mysterious stranger falling in love.

And fall in love they do with style, passion, grace, tears and even fireworks.

I hope Forlani is never cast in a role where that questioning, disbelieving trademark squint and then peer off into an unknown distance is not an asset. Movies can forgive a lot more than the stage but facial expressions as well as the embodiment of the mannerisms of a character are part of the whole toolbox of communication available to an actor. Claire has a wratchet with one bit. She's pretty and soft and has nice skin, but lacks fizz. Her whole mannerism in Mallrats, Mystery Men and Joe Black is built on that one expression. I think she probably thinks she is a natural, and has never spent any time watching the way normal people go about their business. If you want to take a character and amplify it, you need to give it some attributes and then pull them off the ground. Claire clips the wings off her performace by refusing to get out of her normal frame of mind and actually create a character rather than just extend one part of her personality. But what the hell, Christopher Walken has had a long and thriving career based on one character. One very annoying character.

Pitt gets to show more of his range. He is just so talented, I wonder how hard he works to get into these roles. His Jamaican accent was flawless and a nice surprise. Of course, there was a the requisite scene where he is disrobed, almost like a gift being unwrapped for the audience. I don't mind the beefcake element (boy, do I ever not mind) but I'm glad there as an actor of depth and range underneath it all.

He doesn't completely transform from role to role the way Meryl Streep or Toni Collette does, but he not only chooses atypical anti-hero roles, he adds so much to their interpretation.

Marcia Gay Harden and Jeff Tambor give weak supporting performances as Allison and Quince. Although necessary to the plot, such as it was devised, Allison was only the foil to make the gem of Susan (Forlani) shine a bit brighter and justify some of the William's (Hopkins) motivation. And Tambor played a slightly more sedate dunderhead than the one he usually plays who is crucial to a turn in the plot and other than that, his character is flat and irrelevant.

Their almost incidental presence does not ruin the film, it is just part of the frame that helps shift the audiences attention to the process of falling in love.

Don't expect a "Story". See this film for the experience.

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originally posted: 11/22/99 09:16:41
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User Comments

3/11/19 TJ Truly, pne of the best films ever and this review is right on the nose about Meet Joe Black 5 stars
1/01/19 Virgil Smooch This movie was terrible. Anyone who liked this movie is as shallow as the fools who wrote i 1 stars
10/11/17 Annick One of my favorite films 5 stars
10/10/17 Louise I switched off after 20 mins. Utter tripe. 1 stars
10/10/17 Louise I switched off after 20 mins. Utter tripe. 1 stars
8/17/17 David Hopkins - excellent as always, Pitt - decent job, Forlani's acting style - annoying & bad. 4 stars
2/12/17 Margaret Love it.Keep watching it over and over. Music beautiful.Pitt and Hopkins are great! 5 stars
8/29/15 ms. maestra I love this movie. It is my favorite Anthony Hopki s and my favorite Brad Pitt movie 5 stars
6/16/15 Bill Poignant, engrossing film. Musical score is magnificent. 4 stars
1/19/15 Paula Did not like Susan's acting. The movie had some potential but she was painful to watch 2 stars
4/02/13 G. Zullo Emgaging, provavitive & highly entertaining, an all-time favorite! 5 stars
3/23/12 Doug McW Intelligent, refreshing movie. A thinking person's movie that can be watched over and over. 5 stars
1/27/12 Leslie Great film, but a tad long 5 stars
11/22/11 RIFMAN Favorite All Time Movie. 5 stars
10/13/11 Dr.Lao Boring and creepy, hardly traits I associate with a romance movie 1 stars
8/05/11 Quigley There is no excuse for the running time. Not to mention it absolutely refused to end. 2 stars
7/27/11 Mark Interesting most of the negative comments are that it's too long, says more about the view. 4 stars
9/19/10 Spencer T. Chang This is one of my favorite movies, ever. Beautiful acting, score. Absolute movie magic. 5 stars
9/10/10 Sandra Excellent story to express many life lessons in understanding process of life and death. 5 stars
8/25/10 Jeff Slow and pretentious 2 stars
6/05/10 sehoy Great acting--loved Brad Pitt, Hopkins always wonderful. Didn't notice length 5 stars
5/16/10 Don Lawrence Outstanding movie and love the musical score as well. 5 stars
2/15/10 johnny the actors and the characters they play are beautiful. 5 stars
2/10/10 John Zito A sombre gem,reminiscient of On The Beach,(1959),theres even a sountrack riff thats similar 5 stars
1/24/10 Doug 5 times viewed. Parrish is at his end, Black is at his beginning. So much more than a movie 5 stars
12/04/08 Crabes This is such a waste of talent, I can barely believe it 1 stars
11/18/08 Eric Southern First rate in every way; only simpletons could find fault. 5 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting storyline. 4 stars
6/25/08 S.Whelan Great slow moving film, with brilliant performances by both Hopkins & Pitt 5 stars
6/14/08 kdog My favorite movie of all time. I didn't want it to end. Funny, romantic, great dialogue. 5 stars
3/19/08 Leah I think the BEST MOVIE of its kind EVER 4 stars
11/02/07 Lord Skeletor Probably One of the Most Stirring Flicks I've Ever Seen. 5 stars
1/11/07 David Pollastrini Pitt getting hit by the car was done perfectly 3 stars
11/18/06 Brad Bourland It has a good story, and good production values, and about 55 too many minutes 3 stars
11/09/06 Chuck How can you fags bitch about watching Claire Forlani for 3 hours? 4 stars
5/05/06 ES Where's all the goddam peanut butter?"- I love that, the movie not so much 2 stars
4/11/06 Marquita Stokes I thought the movie was amazing that lended an intelligent deep perspective on life and lov 4 stars
2/24/06 TB Need to get rid of romance and stay with the story 3 stars
11/14/05 Krisan Long.... but good story line, could have shortened it a bit 4 stars
4/22/05 klee mindless dribble, do urse;f a favour & have ur eyes ripped out before you see this crap 1 stars
3/28/05 ramez the best ive seen 3 stars
9/26/04 david really good , brad pitt was awesome 5 stars
5/31/04 Gray you know how chick flicks have a reputation as sucky? well this craptacual film proves it! 1 stars
4/06/04 Amber Interesting outlook on death 4 stars
4/01/04 john long winded but well made 4 stars
3/21/04 Tiffany Thunderhurst A transcontinental snail race would be faster paced than this movie! 1 stars
2/23/04 Joe *snore* Long and Booooooooooooooooring 1 stars
11/27/03 Sumit Goel A wonderful movie with extremely powerful performances. 5 stars
11/23/03 Kris Huge disappointment! Harden's talent completely wasted. A predictable bore. 1 stars
10/05/03 Jake At three hours long sitting all the way through this movie is like being tortured 1 stars
7/25/03 RazieR This is one of the greatest movies ive seen. are totally ignorant 5 stars
5/09/03 The Talking Elbow Maybe a good premise, but the presentation was all WRONG and it SUCKED 1 stars
4/25/03 mr. Pink Everybody's worst work. Pitt and Hopkins should've read the script one this one. 3 hours?!? 1 stars
4/07/03 Jack Sommersby Contrived and overlong but admittedly satisfying. Pitt could have used a lot more variety. 3 stars
10/30/02 Patrick this was very enjoyable. 4 stars
10/12/02 Natalia, Irina's friend agree 5 stars
10/12/02 Irina Best Death-theme interpretation ever seen 5 stars
8/14/02 MI I thorougly enjoyed the movie, despite the THREE hours it took to get to the end. 5 stars
8/12/02 R.W. Welch Leaden pacing and miscasting of Pitt just about sink this remake of Death Takes a Holiday. 3 stars
7/19/02 John Burkitt intriguing, engrossing 4 stars
3/05/02 Julia Cox Lightning-paced edge-of-your-seat thriller that ends all too soon! 1 stars
8/19/01 Dr. Thompson Not bad. Brad Pitt acts like hes on illegal medication. 4 stars
8/01/01 Natalie Brad Pitt and Claire Forlani are AWESOME!!! 5 stars
7/17/01 Piz If you're not in a hurry it's a good love story, Pitt's acting is actually tolerable here 4 stars
5/20/01 hgfc sucks all ass 1 stars
5/08/01 Gracy Lionheart Ugh...the only good thing is watching Brad Pitt. 2 stars
4/29/01 The Jedi Droid I only saw this because the new star wars trailer was showing. man what a long flick 3 stars
4/04/01 PALUCH Soft kind of movie,"..what great movies are all about" 4 stars
1/24/01 terrie smith Like watching paint dry; Hopkins better than the script & Forlani is exquisite. to watch. 3 stars
9/18/00 Paul This movie is too fucking long. So boring I almost fell into a coma 1 stars
9/17/00 JB Great look at the slow process of dying. Loved it!!! 5 stars
4/19/00 seldom scene long, but well acted and the film is never in a hurry, gives you time to ponder or predict. 4 stars
4/01/00 Tino Slaut A shocking mess of a film! Watching it is like snooping around at an airplane crash site. 1 stars
3/31/00 Arnaldo Cruz Well directed,powerfull, and way overlook 5 stars
3/21/00 Sam This movie suked big donkey balls. If you rent this movie you will be pissed 1 stars
2/23/00 Neil Austin Yawn. Utter Bilge 1 stars
9/24/99 KK Pitt Sucks Big Time!!!! Hopkins, what the hell were you thinking working with this loser??? 1 stars
9/06/99 Weird Andy O,Bergman! What crimes are committed in thy name! 1 stars
8/01/99 hum ok, much to long. makes me think id like to see the original 3 stars
7/12/99 Mudbug So boring I turned it off halfway. 2 stars
6/03/99 lucasd jackson this movie was good until Brad Pitt came into the movie 1 stars
4/12/99 Randall What was with all the complaining about length, it went quickly for me, i loved it 5 stars
4/05/99 Cool Thing BAM! Three hours of my life GONE! Wasted! Utter shite. Wasted premise. 1 stars
3/03/99 john morton I saw it in Italy, but how can death not know how to eat? lame Brad Pitt vehicle, no brain 1 stars
1/14/99 Melissa Another film that has been heavily criticized, but I enjoyed it. Hopkins is fabulous. 4 stars
1/11/99 Jaime Other than the fact that death never looked so good, this film has nothing to offer. 2 stars
1/10/99 Diogenesnutz This was one of the most unbelievably boring movies I've ever seen. 1 stars
1/08/99 john r Movie was entertaining although Pitt was rather stiff. Anthony Hopkins was outstanding. 3 stars
1/04/99 jlgallardo The story was not quite convincing. See it in theaters don't rent it, you will hate it. 3 stars
1/01/99 Movie Geezer haaated it---looong and stupid 2 stars
12/09/98 AnnieBee Death can speak in Island tongue but has never tasted peanut butter? Come on! 3 stars
12/06/98 Mr Showbiz Protracted, overindulgent remake of "Death Takes A Holiday". May just bore you to.. 3 stars
12/02/98 16 in, of swingin' meat and a bucket of balls Great cinematography, great cast, but it was damn near 3 hrs.long, but it was good! 4 stars
12/01/98 Bluntman Anthony Hopkins is wonderful, clever lines, a fine story- all and all entertaining. 4 stars
11/25/98 Callie The original picture "Death Takes a Holiday" really can't be topped. But Brad is AOK !!!!!! 4 stars
11/23/98 Daniel A girlie flick...might as well see Point Break with a better script. 3 stars
11/23/98 Freyja 3 words. Brad Pitt naked. 5 stars
11/21/98 Zantwerp Absoluetely one of the best films of the year. The cinematography was incredible!!! 5 stars
11/11/98 Tina 3 hrs of pitt living vicariously through hopkins & a feeble atempt at acting by forlani 3 stars
10/19/98 Dark Horizons A really amazing film. Visually just stunning, some really excellent dialogue. 5 stars
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  13-Nov-1998 (PG-13)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2005


  11-Mar-1999 (M)

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