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
For some reason "Meet Joe Black" has received mixed reviews from critics and moviegoers. In my opinion, this remake of the 1934 film "Death Takes a Holiday" was one of the best films I have seen in quite some time. The movie has gained a reputation for being long and drawn out because it is 3 hours long. I did not find the film to be drawn out at all, and time flew by for me when watching this film. Brad Pitt is actually a very good actor and shows it in this film. Pitt accurately portrayed how Death would react to the world around him with his endless curiousity and naive behavior. The scene where Death discovers peanut butter for the first time is priceless!! Anthony Hopkins was great as usual, and turns in another oscar worthy performance as Bill Parrish. You come to legitimately feel for his character because you know that it is only a matter of time before the inevitable is coming. The thing that impressed me most about the film, was that the romantic story between Death and Claire Forlani's character Susan is extremely well done, despite the gloom setting that Death's presence brings. I also highly recommend picking up the soundtrack to this film. The musical score used was outstanding.
The only piece of advice I can give with this film, is to ignore its reputation and give it a shot. Overall, "Meet Joe Black" is a captivating and touching film with great performances given from the actors and an incredible soundtrack.
A solid 5 stars...