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Defending Your Life (Bilingual) [Import]

Albert Brooks , Meryl Streep , Albert Brooks    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 6.49 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Defending Your Life (Bilingual) [Import] + Kramer Vs. Kramer (Bilingual) + Sophie's Choice
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Albert Brooks proves there's laughs after death with this almost heavenly comedy--almost heaven as in Judgment City, where recently perished Daniel Miller (Brooks) learns whether he is worthy of advancing to a higher plane of existence or will be sent back to earth for another incarnation.

His fate will be determined in a very special trial, during which scenes from his life are replayed on a giant screen. "Isn't it realistic?" a judge asks. "It makes some people nauseous." While the steely prosecutor (Lee Grant) will try to prove that Daniel failed in life to face his fears and insecurities, his glad-handing, reassuring defender (Rip Torn) will argue on behalf of this hapless "little brain" (a Judgment City term for residents of earth).

As Woody Allen did for the future in Sleeper, so does Brooks create an original vision of the afterlife. In Judgment City, white-robed residents can eat as much as they want without guilt or fear of gaining weight. They can also visit the Past Lives Pavilion, where they are greeted by a hologram of--who else--Shirley MacLaine.

Daniel finds himself touched by an angel. Meryl Streep gives an enchanting performance as Julia, whose exemplary life is in stark contrast to his. During her trial, the court watches in rapture as she saves not only children, but a cat from a burning building.

Daniel and Julia are a match made in Judgment City, but first Daniel must summon up the courage to express his true feelings for her, or she will surely advance without him.

Defending Your Life is Brooks's most ambitious film and, with Mother, his most accessible. --Donald Liebenson


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A smiler, not a knee-slapper Sept. 13 2005
Format:DVD
A perplexing movie in that I don't really think it is all that good. Yet I continually come back to it. This is one understated movie from beginning to end. A couple of unexpected bumps would have been a welcome relief. It is a fairly ingenious plot but Brooks does little to develop it. There is nothing special about the characters, the acting or the humour. You have no real reason to cheer for the Brooks character, the Streep character is boring and, far too often, the movie settles for banal and effortless chuckles. Given the premise, there is plenty of opportunity for Brooks to say something profound, wry or witty. But he never does. The ending is pedestrian and devoid of insight. Heaven seems to be the most mundane place possible. I'm not sure I want to go there.
And yet, I have watched this movie many times and, everytime, catch myself sitting on the couch with the most idiotic smile on my face throughout the film. For that reason, and the fact that I invariably spend a couple of days afterwards wondering how my life would stand up to the same type of scrutiny, the film gets 4 stars. So, maybe in some devilishly subtle way, the movie does work after all. Despite everything I've said, I like it. I just don't know why.
While I'm here, someone help me out. In his review, does LP Quagmire really think Mel Brooks and Albert Brooks are the same person? Or have I been punk'd by a brilliant piece of sham idiocy?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you have a good attorney!!! March 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Albert Brooks is one of the most talented writers and actors around. I have been a fan of his for years and I believe this movie is a perfect example of his comedic genius. It's terrific!
Brooks plays the part of Daniel Miller, a young professional with everything to live for, who is suddenly killed in a senseless accident. He then finds himself arriving in Judgement City where he is expected to defend his life, or rather, the manner in which he has lived it. Only then will the "powers that be" decide if he is ready to move on to the next level or if he will have to return to life on earth to give it another try. Daniel is surprised to learn that the things he will be judged on are much different than he expected!
Albert Brooks has a very neurotic, self-deprecating sense of humor and he is wonderful in this movie! Meryl Streep is lovely as Julia, the woman that Daniel becomes involved with during the course of his "trial." The contrast between her experience in Judgement City and Daniel's makes for some of the funnier moments of the movie. And while Brooks is definitely the star of this show, Rip Torn steals more than his fair share of laughs in his role as Daniel's defense attorney.
This is an unforgettable comedy whose basic message is that life is full of risks and sometimes we have to overcome our fears and make a few giant leaps if we want to be happy. Do yourself a favor and watch it soon!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When I die... Aug. 22 2003
Format:DVD
you'll find me at the Krispy Creme -- a steady stream of fresh, hot sweeties in one hand & a diet pepsi (I choose diet pepsi over regular, ok) in the other! No more carb worries, hooray!
It's really a shame more people didn't see this charming film -- terrific writing & acting! I saw it by accident when it first came out in theatres, always stop to watch it when I come across it on cable, finally have it on DVD and continue to refer to years later, unfortunately few people get the cinematic reference. In the meantime I continue to recommend it to all!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Film Made Me Smile Inside June 23 2003
Format:DVD
I really like Albert Brooks. His comedy films are so inventive and funny that it makes other comic fantsies pale in comparison. Having not seen Defending Your Life yet, I went out and rented it.
I loved this movie! It's about a man who dies and goes to "Judgement City", and has to defend the actions he took in his life. Some of the lines are so funny too! It gets richer and richer through each viewing. Plus, you'll probably end up watching this a few times, because you'll want to show it to your friends.
Albert Brooks is great as always, but it was a joy to see Meryl Streep. She adds so much to her role and creates some nice scenes with Brooks. However, I LOVED the ending. It was one of the most satisfying I'd seen in a while, and it made me feel great inside.
I still can't believe Albert Brooks writes, directs, and stars in most of his works. I hope he continues his creative stretch for many more films to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie April 15 2013
By Jacqui
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Excellent film - funny and thought-invoking. A different kind of story set in a different kind of Heaven. See it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of best and witty comedies ever made Feb. 4 2004
Format:DVD
This is just a masterpiece. A perfect combination of humour, great acting, intelligent script, romance, and a lovingly ending. Ah! And a great music score too. Rent it, bought it, borrow it, whatever. Just don't miss this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Albert Brooks-Comedy Genius Dec 17 2003
Format:DVD
Love this movie. Adore it. This is such a wonderful film. I have been a huge Albert Brooks fan for many many years and all of the films he has directed are top notch. I would put them in this order: 1. Defending Your Lfe 2. Modern Problems 3. Lost In America 4. Real Life 5. Mother 6. The Muse. They are all some of the best comedy dramas you will ever see...Period. In many ways he's like a non-threatening version of Woody Allen (and I mean that in a nice way-I love Woody Allen's work too)if that makes any sense. *A little trivia for you...Albert Brooks' brother is James L. Brooks director of Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News and As Good As It Gets and he is also the longtime producer of The Simpsons.
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