Meet Joe Black Ending Explained & Film Analysis

Three hours of life-affirming action in a film about … Death. The movie did not receive any status awards – neither an Oscar from the Film Academy, nor the Palme d’Or in Cannes, but it struck in the very heart of the audience who accidentally or deliberately watched it. What is the secret of success and what is the true meaning of the story about the “vacation” of Death, tired of reaping its mournful harvest every second? Martin Brest – the director of the film breathed new life into the old play by Alberto Casella.

Meet Joe Black – Meaning of earthly human existence

In 1929, there were 180 performances on Broadway called Death Takes a Day Off. Later, in 1934 and 1971, the play was filmed. The film “Meet Joe Black” is the third attempt to recreate on the screen the mystical image that frightens everything on Earth – the image of Death. Meeting with her is inevitable. She is relentless and ruthless.

Everyone who lives thinks so, but Martin Brest presented her in a different hypostasis, mixing so many colors that a cold-blooded and calculating killer suddenly appears as a naive child, and then a quivering lover, and then a sage who has found the only right solution. There are so many meanings in the story as old as the world. Not only the mysterious Death reveals the secrets of his “work”, but man also learns the true values ​​of his being.

Great acting trio

Anthony Hopkins is the gem of the film. The role of Bill Perrish is not played – lived on the screen. In The Silence of the Lambs, Hopkins is a maniac, a ruthless cannibal with a chilling gaze. Now in front of the viewer is a father, whose eyes are filled with tenderness for his girls. Such a contrasting reincarnation can only be done by the genius of Hopkins.

Meet Joe Black - Film Meaning and Plot Lines Explained

Young actors Brad Pitt and Claire Forlani match their older counterpart. Claire is the embodiment of natural femininity. Pitt managed to create two images at once – a charming earthly guy and an entity, from which a burial cold blows. Together, the actors created the atmosphere of the film, filled with sincere love and self-sacrifice.

Meet Joe Black - Film Meaning and Plot Lines Explained

An elderly man suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night, alarmed by a vague illness. He tries to stretch his left arm, numb in his sleep. He is many years old and the suspicion naturally arises that heart failure may be the cause of the malaise. A mysterious voice answers his dumb question out loud. This yes sounds out of nowhere. Bill Perrish is having a nightmare. He is prudent and not subject to panic. These qualities, as well as many other virtues, helped him to become a media mogul – successful and rich, like Croesus. Perrish’s anniversary is approaching. The venerable age is 65 years.

Meet Joe Black - the philosophical meaning of the film and an explanation of the storylines

The eldest daughter Ellis is preparing a grand celebration, to which the country’s elite are invited. From the first minutes of the morning dialogue between Perrish and his two daughters, the director cleverly sets accents. The eldest father calls Ellis, and the youngest Susan the baby. They are both adult women, but one of them is a beloved child, a girl in need of parental care.

Father’s advice as a guide to action

The short conversation on the way to work comes as a complete surprise to Susan. Her father gives her everyday instructions, but it is not about a career and the search for a profitable party. He talks about love. That she must open her heart for an arrow that will pierce him with love. If this feeling does not happen in her life, then “it means that she did not live.” Susan meets with Drew – her father’s partner, but there is no passion in their relationship that dad suddenly spoke about with such piercing frankness.

A chance meeting in a cafe, as if in confirmation of her father’s words, turned out to be so useful that when parting with a new acquaintance, Susan, despite her natural restraint, confesses her sympathy. They say goodbye without even giving each other names. He spoke of the same arrow that pierced their hearts at the same time. Susan rushes on duty at the clinic, and he – towards death. Here’s another point – you need to be decisive. As soon as Susan succumbed to the feeling, called out, prolonged the conversation for another minute, and the course of events would have changed.

Meet Joe Black - the philosophical meaning of the film and the explanation of the plot

Meet Joe Black explained of ending

Death comes to Perrish’s house and categorically declares to the owner that she is tired of endless toil. She decided to rest and have fun. Bill was chosen as a guide to the world of human joys. He lived a decent life, knows a lot about it and will fit for this role. All this Death expresses through the mouth of Susan’s morning acquaintance. His body became a temporary abode of the entity that decided to taste this world for taste, color, smell.

Meet Joe Black - the philosophical meaning of the film and an explanation of the storylines

As soon as Death gets bored with the earthly “business trip”, the existence of Perrish will end. From that moment on, she acquires not only a body, but also a name – Joe Black. Joe becomes an inseparable companion of Perrish at home and at work. Bewilderment and dumb questions are caused by the appearance of a stranger among everyone around Bill. Joe behaves with the spontaneity of a child who is all new: the taste of peanut butter, jelly biscuits, the softness of the mattress.

All the uncomplicated joys of life amuse Death until it discovers the main human purpose – love. Susan has had a crush on Joe since that cafe meeting. He is captivated by her tenderness, femininity and for the first time experiences all the delights of love: the possession of a loved one, the warmth of her body and the radiance of loving eyes, the unity of souls. New sensations make the embodiment of universal evil vulnerable, awaken feelings, which it is deprived of by nature.

Meet Joe Black - the philosophical meaning of the film and the explanation of the plot

Perrish’s courage

Another discovery for Joe is Perrish’s behavior in the last hours of his life. On the brink of the grave, he does not think for a second about the millions that he leaves in this world. Perrish recalls his wife’s blue jacket on the day of their acquaintance, his heart aches for the fate of his daughter, he is worried about the future of the company – the work of a lifetime. He lives as before, without changing his usual schedule. Only family dinners are now becoming daily. This is who Bill is really sorry to part with – his family.

Meet Joe Black - the philosophical meaning of the film and an explanation of the storylines

By his example, he teaches Joe to enjoy simple human joys – to see in them the main meaning of life. Such behavior of the victim, who, even after the announcement of the verdict, behaves courageously and with dignity, evokes involuntary respect in Death. Only it makes you listen to the arguments of the father, protesting against Joe’s decision to take Susan with him. Bill finds words to prevent his daughter’s death. He convinces that a true feeling should benefit the beloved, even to the detriment of his own. To use your power is selfishness, but not love. Death, formerly imperturbable and cold as a stone, begins to tear apart human feelings – doubts, bitterness of loss, anger at Perrish’s truthful speeches, remorse. She acts in a completely human way – she sacrifices her interests in the name of the happiness of her beloved.

Meet Joe Black - the philosophical meaning of the film and the explanation of the plot

The meaning of film or life ..

The actors’ play, beautiful music, well-formed dialogues, convincing words reveal to the viewer the main message of the film – what is the real meaning of life. In one word – in love. There is a lot of her here and she is multifaceted, love for children, parents and, of course, a man for a woman.

Meet Joe Black - the philosophical meaning of the film and an explanation of the storylines

In a short time, Joe Black learned to understand life and enjoy it. He learned the best there is to know about her. Perhaps he got a good guide.

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