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Meet Joe Black

931 customer reviews

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(Nov 16, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Bill Parrish (Anthony Hopkins) has it all - success, wealth and power. Days before his 65th birthday, he receives a visit from a mysterious stranger, Joe Black (Brad Pitt), who soon reveals himself as Death. In exchange for extra time, Bill agrees to serve as Joe's earthly guide. But will he regret his choice when Joe unexpectedly falls in love with Bill's beautiful daughter Susan (Claire Forlani).

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 semidysfunctional 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

Special Features

  • Spotlight on Location
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Forlani, Jake Weber, Marcia Gay Harden
    • Directors: Martin Brest
    • Writers: Ron Osborn, Jeff Reno, Kevin Wade, Bo Goldman
    • Producers: Martin Brest
    • Format: Widescreen, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
    • Subtitles: English
    • Dubbed: French
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: November 16, 2007
    • Run Time: 180 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (931 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: 0783233477
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,296 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Meet Joe Black" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    153 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Emily Davis on January 3, 2000
    Format: VHS Tape
    This film has something that most flicks today can only dream of: class. It doesn't spoon-feed the plot to you, and it doesn't have useless dialogue crammed into every nook and cranny. Those who say this film drags should stick to children's cartoons. There is so much happening beneath the surface. Some just tune out the gaps in dialogue, and that's a real tragedy, because that's when the most happens, and the film really shines. Pitt, Hopkins, and Forlani are tremendous. Pitt's combination of power and innocence is flawless. This film is the most sophisticated to come out in a while, and the fact that the critics don't like it doesn't phase me one bit, nor does it surprise me. Meet Joe Black is a breath of fresh air: a truly elegant film.
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    168 of 177 people found the following review helpful By Janice Sims VINE VOICE on April 18, 1999
    Format: VHS Tape
    I'm not a Brad Pitt fan. His physical attributes don't astound and thrill me! But, I've got to give it to him: He was convincing in his dual roles as the coffee shop sweetie and Mr. Death. Claire Forlani, whom I've never seen in a film before was simply luminous. She's the perfect Susan in this parable of one man's last days on earth. Anthony Hopkins as Bill Parrish is remarkable, as always. He truly makes you feel as though he's a man with little time left and has to spend the rest of his alloted time cleaning up his act, making amends with his loved ones, assuring his daughters that he loves them and has always loved them. Also, Marcia Gay Hardin and Jeffrey Tambor are both extremely good as the number two daughter (in her father's heart) and her slightly inept (business wise) husband. They're both touching. I wasn't put off by the length of the film. I think we should take the time to savor some things in life. Slow down, relax and enjoy this beautiful offering from Martin Brest. You did a good job, Marty!
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    65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Charles M. Strnad on February 4, 2009
    Format: DVD
    I didn't see this movie when it first came out in the theatres, and wasn't privvy to all the trash-talk about it's initial box-office flop. Came across it while channel-surfing about a year ago, and only caught bits and pieces of it the first few times- but was intrigued enough by what I saw to eventually buy my own copy; I have now watched it through several times in the last year. This being the 454th review of this film on this site, by no means do I figure to offer any amazing new insights for someone who has never seen this under-appreciated movie. But after reading through several of both the one and five-star reviews on this site, I thought I'd add just a few personal observations. To start, it is worth nothing that about 3/4 of the numerous reviews posted here rate MJB as a 5-star movie. The 5% that relegate it to one star all have a central theme: it was too long, too slow, and pretentious.

    Now I am a contemplative sort at heart, but still also enjoy a good pure-action flick, provided the production values, acting, plot and message are sound. Perhaps because I have been a cancer specialist for the past 23 years, and am witness to Death on a frequent basis (in His more obscure, spiritual form), I think those who are critical of the perceived "slowness" of this film just aren't catching what I believe must have been the intent of the director: life generally rushes by in the blink of an eye, but when you are confronted with your own imminent mortality, and the pressing reality of the prospect of Oblivion (or at least the end of all you know as real), everything tends to slow down to a snail's-pace. The last days, hours, minutes of one's life are grasped very dearly, and only relinquished with great resignation.
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    59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1999
    Format: VHS Tape
    After reviewing all 206 reviews for this movie, I've come to the realization there is still a majority of intelligent people who watch movies, not just teenagers who want action and adventure. I admit that when my sister gave me this movie to watch, I almost gave it back to her without seeing it because I didn't think I would care for it. Was I wrong! I've seen it three times in a week and I can't believe it was three hours long -- it seemed to carry me away and I didn't want it to stop. I must admit that when the accident scene occurred after the coffee shop, I was so shocked that I thought I'd hate the rest of the movie. I almost turned it off, but I'm so grateful I didn't. By the end of the movie I felt such elation and satisfaction. By the second viewing, I wasn't so shocked by the accident so I was better able to absorb the emotions and interactions of the characters. Since I'm a recent widow (December '98) and then my mother died on my birthday in May of '99, I couldn't imagine ever watching another romantic movie. But the absorbing story just draws you in, and by the time Anthony Hopkins says, "it's hard to say good-bye, isn't it?" I knew exactly how Joe must have felt saying good-bye to Susan. This is a feel-good movie by the end and a roller coaster ride of emotions for three hours Don't listen to the dribble of teenagers who would rather watch movies such as Animal House or Something About Mary -- they probably watch all those stupid sit-coms, too.
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    137 of 152 people found the following review helpful By Reine des Coeurs VINE VOICE on December 18, 2003
    Format: DVD
    I'll admit that only morbid curiosity led me to watch this movie upon it's initial release. The premise of this remake sounded interesting, but the over the top costs and production problems had been tabloid fodder for months. When it didn't do blockbuster business, not many people were surprised.
    It's a shame that this movie didn't do better than mediocre reviews and lukewarm boxoffice receipts. There I sat in the audience marveling at the gorgeous design and antiques, not to mention the exquisite costume design. So many films these days go for established designers, but this movie used a studio designer much like the days of the old Hollywood system. The attention to detail is exquisite.
    As for the acting, it all boiled down to one scene for me. Anthony Hopkins describing the first time he'd ever had a lamb sandwich to Brad Pitt. It turns into one of the most beautiful remembrance speeches of a widower for the wife he still grieves. Needless to say even this heartless cynic got a bit misty. To have a man express such love without sounding condescending or corny is quite a feat. It's enough to make you believe in the power of a good actor.
    Brad Pitt also deserves kudos for this role. Despite living through a personal hell and sustaining an injury, he does a great job in his double role. I thought the scene in which Death says good bye to Claire Forlani's character was some of his best acting.
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