It is a movie about a woman who falls in love with a concept. And it is a meditation on the screen presence of Brad Pitt.
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That there is also time for scenes about sibling rivalry and a corporate takeover is not necessarily a good thing. The movie contains elements that make it very good, and a lot of other elements besides.
As the movie opens, a millionaire named William Parrish Anthony Hopkins is pounded by a heart attack, the soundtrack using low bass chords to assault the audience.
He hears a voice--his own--in his head. On the brink of his 65th birthday, he senses that death is near.
Meet Joe Black () ending / spoiler
He tells his beloved younger daughter Susan Claire Forlani that he likes her fiance but doesn't sense that she truly loves him: A few hours later, in a coffee shop, she meets a stranger Brad Pitt. They talk and flirt. He says all the right things.
Lightning makes, at the very least, a near miss. They confess they really like each other. That night at dinner, she is startled to find him among her father's guests.
The body of the young man is now occupied by Death, who has come to inform Parrish that his end is near. Advertisement He does not recognize Susan. Isn't Death an emissary from God? Shouldn't he know these things?
He's been around a long time one imagines him breaking the bad news to amoebas.
Meet Joe Black () Rotten Tomatoes
This Death doesn't even know what peanut butter tastes like, or how to kiss. A job like that, you want a more experienced man. We accept the premise. We're distracted, anyway, by the way Brad Pitt plays the role. Pitt is a fine actor, but this performance is a miscalculation. Pitt plays them as a compliment to himself. There is no chemistry between Joe Black and Susan because both parties are focused on him. That at least leads to the novelty of a rare movie love scene where the camera is focused on the man's face, not the woman's.
Meet Joe Black Movie Review & Film Summary () Roger Ebert
The synopsis below may give away important plot points. Synopsis William Parish Anthony Hopkins is a multimillionaire who has run a successful empire for the past forty years in New York. But, after his wife passes away, he feels empty and becomes convinced that Death is now after him too.
He hears strange voices in his head, mimicking his own words, but they are phony and ridicule him in every possible manner. William's eldest and somewhat meddlesome daughter, Allison Marcia Gay Hardenis planning her father's 65th birthday party. Her father disapproves of the relationship and suggests she look for someone more suited to her character.
The young man is struck and killed by a car a few minutes later. Death Brad Pitt appears to Bill in his home. Bill finally realizes that the young man is the personification of death.
But death wants a holiday from his taxing, eternal responsibility of taking the souls of the dead to the after life. He chooses William to be his guide strikes a deal with Bill: Temporarily doubting his own sanity, he finally agrees. He is introduced to William's family at a dinner at his house, when Susan arrives a few minutes late.
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She immediately recognizes the young man she met earlier that day, but the young man as Death is unfamiliar with the practices of mortal men and does not remember their original meeting.
He acts awkwardly around her and she is confused and upset by his sudden odd behavior, very unlike his actions earlier that day.
When the dinner guests ask Bill for the name of his "old friend", Bill hesitatingly introduces him as "Joe Black".
The family is puzzled by the sudden appearance of an old friend of their father's that they have never met. Joe insists that Bill allow him to accompany him everyplace he goes, and Bill reluctantly agrees. Bill knows that these are his last days on earth, but despite his best efforts, he fails to keep events from rapidly spiraling out of control. A merger has been proposed to the Board of Bill's company, and Drew actively supports the transaction, but Bill as Chairman vetoes the proposal.
Drew is very antagonistic towards this sudden, new "old friend" of Bill's, and is disrespectful and rude towards him. Susan grows disaffected of her relationship with Drew, beginning to see him for who he really is, and is somewhat enamored of the diffident, seductive, mysterious Joe Black.
They have sex and she tells Joe that she loves him. Joe enjoys the experiences of his flesh, of human feelings and desires, and is in love with her as well. This complicates matters, as Bill doesn't want Death to become involved with his daughter, and tells Joe that their deal didn't include this.
Death has little care for Will's feelings and declares his intention to take Susan with him for his own. As his last birthday arrives, Bill makes a last attempt to demonstrate to Joe the meaning of true love and all it encompasses, especially honesty and sacrifice.