Defending Your Life 1991 (1991) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: In an afterlife way station resembling a block of hotels, the lives of the recently-deceased are examined in a court-like setting. Runtime: 112 mins Release Date: 05 Apr 1991
This film changed my life and helped me to become a better person. This movie made me realize how MY life will look when showed upon "the big screen". "Defending Your Life" made me think about how I have handled fear and adversity in my life. It also made me consider the effect my actions can have on the lives of others.Because of this movie, I can tell you that my bus driver's name is Joe, and my mailman is Bob.I never liked Meryl Streep in other movies, but playing Julia, she is absolutely charming. This is one of the few movies I plan to buy and keep.
This is a MUST-SEE movie (by Hermit)
OK, it may be a bit too romantic-comedy-like, but the one-liners and story concepts are excellent. Albert Brooks plays a very convincing confused dead guy trying to figure out how to justify his total lack of manlihood. Apparently, you can only go to the next level if you have no regrets in life. So, he must go to court to defend his life. Rip Torn couldn't be funnier. The whole story is a crack-up. Note the details in the surroundings. Things like billboards, items on desks, clothing, building architecture. It's all surrealistic. It's almost like it wasn't intended to be that <more>
way, but obviously, it was. Your gal will like this story for its romanticism, you'll like it for it's irony and comedy.
This film gets unfairly knocked for being too much of a "feel good" movie, but what happens when you NEED a film to help you feel good?I have this on DVD and watch it when I am feeling depressed, for it reminds me, "Courage, mon Pierre!" Tough out the hard parts, show a little fortitude, and you too, will "move forward."So much in this film rings true. If we hide inside a shell of fear, we miss so much in life. When we come out, when we show courage, if we jump off that tram and chase down our true love, we gain all we desire!
Vastly underrated film, a real treat. Carpe diem. (by ToldYaSo)
This film's tag-line "The first true story of what happens after you die," is so perfect for this film. This film is so consistently funny, I only wish I could screen it for all my friends at the same time, so I could share it with every one of them. I've seen this film many times, and enjoy it more each time. "Lost In America" is a great film of Albert Brooks', but this one is my favourite of his. Sadly, I rarely encounter someone who's already seen it. When I think of underrated films, I think of this one first.Right off the bat, our protagonist, Brooks, <more>
is dead, flattened by a bus. Next thing you know, he's in Judgment City, where people go when they die, and where it will be decided if he will go on to the next level or go back for another crack at life on Earth.In Judgment City he's reminded of all the key events in his life in something like a flashback screening room and his life is then evaluated by the custodians of the city, who will decide if he goes forward or not. Much like a court appearance.There are great performances by supporting players, especially Rip Torn, and while I never associated Meryl Streep with great comedy, she holds her own as Brooks' love interest. There is a hilariously understated performance by Buck Henry.The most fun with this film is learning bit by bit about the inner workings of Judgment City, as each aspect seems to have been well thought out and executed beautifully, right down to eating arrangements. A true masterful writing achievement for Brooks, who has shown his brilliance in many other films as well.This film should've been a big success, but in a way, I feel privileged to be one of the few people I know who has seen this film and enjoyed it so much. I'll do my part though, spreading the good word as much as possible.See it before you die.
I have seen this film many times, and each time I seem to enjoy it more and more. Albert Brooks gets a hat-trick by directing, writing, and starring in this film about what life is like after death and what lies ahead for each individual. Many have already gone into great detail about the particulars of the film. I want to add that the film has tremendous heart. Albert Brooks gives probably his best performance as a man riddled with inner fears and yet learning quickly about life. The humour underlies almost every line in the film, much of it subtle and some more obvious. Brooks has a <more>
definite grasp of the little annoyances in life as he pokes fun at all kinds of situations that many of us just forget ever happened. The supporting cast is very good. I don't ever remember Meryl Streep looking so well. She seems to be so at home in her role. Lee Grant is as always a major plus, and Buck Henry adds his special subtle humour in a small role. But acting honors and many of the big laughs go to Rip Torn who looks like he is having a ball in his role defending Brook's character. The film, above all, says something about the fears and constraints we have in our lives and how they hold us back emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. How true!
A classic romantic comedy with a message to boot (by vizli)
I just recently saw this movie again on the tube and I was reminded why its one of my favourites. Not only is Brooks at his comedic best but Meryl Streep blended seamlessly into this movie.I was surprised that most of the comments about this movie were focused only on the afterlife and not the more obvious premise of the movie - how we deal with fear. While it is virtually impossible to take a Albert Brooks movie to heart, this one proves to be a clear exception. There is actually a profound message in this movie - your life is significantly shaped by the way you deal with fear.I challenge <more>
anyone who hasn't yet seen this movie to watch it and failed to be entertained. You won't be sorry.
Albert Brooks' view of death is very pleasing to me! Imagine eating all you want while dressed in a comfortable Star Trek outfit! Plus the weather is always great! Unfortunately, that's only at Judgement City..who knows the circumstances at the other places?Daniel Brooks dies in the first ten minutes, while listening to Streisand in his brand new car. He is whisked off to Judgement City where everyone's life is evaluated. You see glimpses of your own past and have to defend your life and yourself. There's a prosecutor and your trial will decide if you 'go on' or <more>
'go back' but none of that really matters that much. Its really just a reason to see all the flashbacks and relive all the memories. Everything is based on fear - how you handle it, if you let it run your life and, most importantly, if you overcame it at all. On night in a comedy club he meets Julia, played by Meryl Streep. They get along immediately and enjoy each other very much. She has a better hotel than he does and as the movie progresses you see Daniel as more of a loser than anything, while Julia was apparently in the other category. She is on a first-name basis with her lawyer and gets invited to a dinner party he throws. Daniel eats alone in a sushi bar very funny scene! that night. There is one priceless scene that I closely identified with. Daniel is on his way to Hong Kong this is a scene from his life, obviously and finds he has seat 'B', meaning he's between two people. He can't even consider sitting in between two people for that long a trip so asks the flight attendant if there are any available seats in first class. She says there is one seat, but it costs $3000 more. He takes it! I would also do a lot to avoid seat 'B', too!Albert Brooks movies are never laugh riots, but they are not supposed to be. They are pleasantly amusing, memorable and thoughtful. This movie falls into the category too but does contain a couple of very funny scenes - during his 'trial' there is what seems to be a 'blooper' tape of his life that is very funny and played strictly for laughs. Its a little disrespectful of the character but Brooks never minds portraying himself as vulnerable and human. Outcome is very satisfying. Streep underplays beautifully and the two actors have a considerable amount of chemistry. Rip Torn, Lee Grant and Buck Henry are the lawyers, and all of them are servicable. 8/10.
A smart and humorous look at what happens when you die. (by TxMike)
In 'Defending Your Life', the simple premise is that we all live multiple lives on Earth, and each time we die, we go to Judgement City where we are evaluated. It isn't the traditional 'heaven or hell' decision. Instead, if we have overcome fear, we move on to something better, more complex. If not, we are sent back to Earth where we lead another life, and continue this cycle until we have demonstrated, to two judges, that we have overcome fear. For Daniel Brooks this is a touchy situation, because in fact he is a somewhat paranoid person. It is further complicated by <more>
his meeting pretty Julia Streep who no doubt will move forward. These days so many movies build up very nicely, only to completely botch the ending. This one passes this test, and has a very nice, creative ending. Overall a very nice movie.SPOILERS follow, for my own recollection, please read no further. As Daniel is required to review his 9 days of his life, the prosecutor repeatedly shows indications that Daniel has NOT overcome fear, and in fact is mainly guided by fear. Fear of asking for the salary he wants and other examples. In contrast, Julia's review is going extremely well, in one of her days is shown rescuing her children from a burning house, then going back in to get the cat! But Julia is attracted to Daniel, and vice versa, and they fall in love. Before Daniel's last day, Julia asks him to spend the night with her, he doesn't because he is again 'afraid', that he might never see her again and the pain of one night of bliss would be greater than never having been with her. And, that is used against him, the next day, by the prosecutor, who gets Daniel to admit "I was afraid." The verdict comes quickly, Daniel is to be sent back. However, on the tram out of Judgement City, he sees Julia, longs for her, risks great pain to jump from his tram, run to hers, and try to get in. Meanwhile, the two judges are watching this on their big screen, they see Daniel finally has overcome his fear, is risking everything to be with Julia, one nods to the other with a smile, they press a button, the doors open, Daniel joins Julia as the movie ends.The part of Daniel is well written and acted by actor, writer, and director Brooks. As we realize his 'trial' will be about his fear, we see him acting fearful in all kinds of subtle ways, even after he has died! At the restaurant, seeing Julia have fun eating her pasta, he wants to leave, embarrassed, fearing that it will give a bad impression to his prosecutor who was at a nearby table. He falls in love with Julia, but trys to avoid a closeness, fearful that he will not see her again. And several other ways.
I have to say that I have a certain appreciation for this film that few could probably say. Its very sentimental to me. Watching this film evokes memories of my childhood. I remember going to the theater with my best friend in 8th grade, not having much to see. We kind of watched this movie on a whim, not really realizing how good it was going to be. I'm sure many people who rent this film have the same experience. Theres something magical in this film. It really has a message that is so important to our lives. That message, is that fear runs our lives and presents us from being happy.You <more>
know what, when you think about it, its so true! There are so many people who live their lives with such confidence, such grace. They don't go around wishing that they had done more, that they had done this or done that. Life is different for these kind of people, and for the unfortunate unhappy people which is most of us , we seem to have spite of these types. Yet, we strangely admire or at least should them for their philosophy and unique appreciation of life.The Meryl Streep character is an example of this graceful wonder. She is what we aspire to be, but maybe never quite attain. She is so confident and happy in her life that things seem to come easily, without many crossroads or barriers. She may have fear, but she's learned to live with it, and achieve great feats by defeating it.The Albert Brooks character, is quite simply us. Oh, the scene where he's about to make the speech! Its so horrifying because I have felt exactly that way. When we observe it, it seems comical because it really kind of silly to get all worked up about a speech. But on a deeper level, it hurts, because I know I've been in that situation. You know that even though he might have been "relieved" that he wouldn't have to make the speech. But inside, he knew he would never go on that stage again, and that's quite a humiliating thing to think about.I don't really understand people who criticize this film's afterlife. Its not supposed to be religious. Its metaphorical, and actually very clever. Believe me, when you think about it, our lives seem more relevant according to this afterlife, then in other religious surroundings such as Heaven or Nirvana. This film is very funny as well. But I will not give away anything. I won't even set up any jokes. Just experience it, and try to think about if there have ever been any time you've felt pains in your stomach...Score: 8.5 Grade: A-