Dead or Alive: Analysis of the film After.Life. The film tells the story of a girl Anna, who finds herself after an accident between two worlds. Is she alive or already dead? Only the owner of the funeral home, Eliot Deacon, knows about this. The meaning of the film After.Life is that you need to appreciate your earthly path, enjoy every day, because then it will be too late.
What is the movie about
Anna Taylor is a young teacher. She has a fiancé Paul, work, everything seems to be fine. But the girl lives, as if in a fog, by inertia, without emotions and plans, desires and the slightest joys. There is a funeral home in their city where Eliot Deacon prepares the dead for the burial rite. Unexpectedly, fate brought these two together, and, perhaps, everything was not accidental.
Anna’s beloved music teacher dies, and the girl goes to the funeral home to say goodbye to him. Eliot meets her and leads her to the coffin. And then the girl notices signs of life in the deceased, gets scared, but the owner of the office convinces her that everything is in order. He watches her through the window, as if he knows they will meet soon.
In the evening, Paul invites Anna to dinner. He secretly prepares the ring, deciding to propose to his beloved. But she again comes not in the mood, the conversation does not stick. Paul reveals that he’s been offered a new job in Chicago, a great opportunity he can’t turn down. He already takes out the ring and wants to hand it to Anna, but she suddenly says: “You are leaving me! I could have said this in the morning. There was no need to pay off with an expensive dinner.
Paul does not have time to explain anything, Anna runs out of the restaurant, gets into the car and leaves. It’s raining heavily outside, and the girl is in tears. She does not look where she is going and gets into an accident. Waking up. she realizes that she is lying on a cold table in a strange place. This is a funeral home. Elliot Deacon leans over the girl and explains to her that she has died, shows her death certificate. Anna is shocked, she says that she is alive, but does not understand why she cannot move.
Eliot says he has the rare gift of communicating with the recently dead. He asks Anna to come to terms with her death and prepare to leave for another world. The funeral is only three days away. The girl does not want to believe it, she is desperately trying to prove that she is still alive. She arranges a pogrom around, makes attempts to escape, but all in vain. Eliot won’t let her out of the locked room.
All this time, Paul blames himself for what happened. He wants to take everything back, but he doesn’t know how. And then one of Anna Jack’s students tells him that he was passing by the funeral home and saw her in the window in a red dress. Paul objects, says that Anna is dead. Then Jack shouts to him: “She needs your help! You just don’t love her anymore!” Arriving at the office and demanding to show him Anna’s body, Paul is refused. Then the idea comes to him that something is not clean in this case. Eliot does not let him inside, and the guy has no evidence of his suspicions.
Paul goes to his friend Tom the cop and asks him to get a search warrant for Eliot. He says that she is being kept alive there and there is little time, but the friend simply asks him to calm down and let go of the situation.
In parallel, there is a description of how the relationship between Eliot and baby Jack begins. The man convinces the boy that he is special and can communicate with dead people. He leads him to the cemetery and shows Anna’s future grave. Jack asks, “Is this her place? Because she died? Eliot replies, “No, because there is no more life left in her.”
On the day of the funeral, Eliot injects Anna with a paralyzing agent and places her in the coffin. Relatives and friends gather in the hall, Paul comes. Approaching the coffin of his beloved, he puts an engagement ring on her finger, which he did not manage to hand over then. And suddenly he notices the movement of Anna’s hand. Eliot can be seen tensing up, but Paul decides he was just imagining it. When everyone moves away from the coffin, the owner of the office leans over Anna and says: “Do not be afraid, it will be better,” and then closes the coffin.
Paul leaves the funeral home not himself. At the car, he meets Jack and addresses him: “You said she was alive.” The boy replies, “I didn’t say she was alive. I said I saw her.” As Paul gets into the car, the boy tells him, “Don’t forget to fasten your seat belt.” Eliot can be seen looking at them from the window.
In the finale, Eliot sits with a photograph of Anna in his hands and says to her: “Everyone buried you. Said goodbye, buried, put up a tombstone and went back to their ready meals and malls thinking this would never happen to them.” He attaches a photo of Anna to the wall next to dozens of the same “living dead” lying in a coffin.
At a dinner party after the funeral, Paul gets heavily drunk. Eliot approaches him and says, “Do you think Anna was alive after the accident? Maybe you’re right. Why don’t you check it out?” When Paul attacks him with his fists, he simply whispers, “You don’t have much time.”
Meanwhile, Anna is seen waking up in her coffin and screaming. Paul goes to the cemetery, he is very drunk. On the way, he sees that he dug up the coffin and saved his beloved, she survived. And then Paul’s car flies into a tree … Paul wakes up on the same table in the funeral home. Eliot and baby Jack stand over him. Eliot says, “You were in a car accident. You are dead.” History repeats itself.
The meaning of the ending of the film After.Life is that everything is cyclical – first life, then death. But many people, long before death, are as close to the end as possible. Was Anna alive after the accident? Did she live before her? Probably not, and therein lies the clue.
She had every opportunity to live for real, experience storms of emotions, do something meaningful, but she just went with the flow. And only at the very end did she realize what she had lost. And so it is with most people – we understand the value of life when it’s too late, and nothing can be changed.
The meaning of the film
In the film After.Life there are a lot of philosophical moments, deep dialogues between Eliot and Anna or he and the boy Jack. The essence of the film is that we often do not appreciate the gift that is given to us – our life. The conversation between the owner of the funeral home and Anna is very revealing:
– I breathe! So I’m alive!
— Oh, people! Do you think you’re only alive because you’re breathing? Do you think your existence is worth something? Or maybe you’ve already died?
After watching the film After.Life, everyone will probably think about their own existence, give it their own interpretation. And that’s the point of being a director. After all, while we are still alive, until the coffin lid is nailed over us, everything is in our hands. You can always find a way out, change or fix something, tell your family how dear they are to us. And only after death nothing can be returned back. So is it worth bringing this moment closer while still alive?
Eliot’s role in the lives of all the people who pass through his office is interesting. Who is he – a mad maniac or a Messiah, returning the value of life to those who have lost it long ago? There is no exact explanation for this in the film, everyone decides for himself. But what is clear for sure is that after meeting with him, people begin to appreciate their lives in a way that all previous years have not done. His philosophy is simple: if you do not know how to love life, then there is nothing to occupy a place on earth.
Another line from the film has a hidden meaning: “You all say that you are afraid of death. No, you’re actually afraid of life.” Indeed, it is worth considering. Indeed, for many, it is life that is a punishment, a difficult quest that drives one into depression. Lack of money, bills, work, relationship problems – it’s all crazy. And death against the background of all this, rather, deliverance, good.
Isn’t this the goal of the insane (or brilliant) Eliot – to save people from suffering, thoughtless, but exhausting life and give peace forever? And then it’s not in vain that every time in the end, closing the coffin lid over his next patient, he says: “It will be better this way.”
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