7.2/10
190,322
734 user 95 critic

Meet Joe Black (1998)

Death, who takes the form of a young man, asks a media mogul to act as a guide to teach him about life on Earth, and in the process, he falls in love with his guide's daughter.

Director:

Martin Brest

Writers:

Ron Osborn (screenplay), Jeff Reno (screenplay) | 6 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
960 ( 550)

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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brad Pitt ... Joe Black / Young Man in Coffee Shop
Anthony Hopkins ... William Parrish
Claire Forlani ... Susan Parrish
Jake Weber ... Drew
Marcia Gay Harden ... Allison
Jeffrey Tambor ... Quince
David S. Howard David S. Howard ... Eddie Sloane
Lois Kelly-Miller Lois Kelly-Miller ... Jamaican Woman
Jahnni St. John Jahnni St. John ... Jamaican Woman's Daughter
Richard Clarke Richard Clarke ... Butler
Marylouise Burke ... Lillian
Diane Kagan Diane Kagan ... Jennifer
June Squibb ... Helen
Gene Canfield ... Construction Foreman
Suzanne Hevner ... Florist
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Storyline

Bill Parrish, media tycoon, loving father and still a human being, is about to celebrate his 65th birthday. One morning, he is contacted by the Inevitable - by hallucination, as he thinks. Later, Death itself enters his home and his life, personified in a man's body: Joe Black has arrived. His intention was to take Bill with him, but accidentally, Joe's former host and Bill's beautiful daughter Susan have already met. Joe begins to develop certain interest in life on earth as well as in Susan, who has no clue who she's flirting with. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's Expecting You. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, some sexuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Universal

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Dutch

Release Date:

13 November 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Meet Joe Black See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,017,995, 15 November 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$44,619,100

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$142,940,100
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited TV)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A reunion for Brad Pitt and Sir Anthony Hopkins, after playing father and son in Legends of the Fall (1994). See more »

Goofs

When Susan is kissing Joe goodbye after having made love, her medical bag is on the floor. Even though she doesn't bend down to pick it up before she walks away, she has it in her hand as she exits. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Construction Foreman: Please. Please. Don't worry. Don't worry.
Allison: It's utter chaos around here. And I'm terrified we're running out of time. Am I trying to be too perfect?
See more »

Alternate Versions

TV version shortens the scene when Joe is hit by the cars. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dumb Movie Ways to Die (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Cheek To Cheek
Written by Irving Berlin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Reflective And Philosophical
16 January 2005 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

For a long time I put off watching this, because I have no interest in superficial, teen comedy flicks, as implied by the film's pedestrian title and by the casting of a youthful Brad Pitt. But "Meet Joe Black" is anything but "superficial", and "teen comedy" does not describe this movie at all.

Set in contemporary New York, the film follows a wealthy family whose patriarchal sixty-five year old head, played by Anthony Hopkins, is nearing the end of his life. Enter "Joe Black" (Brad Pitt), a handsome, but enigmatic, young man with an unusual agenda.

This is a thought-provoking movie about mortality and emotional separation. It will appeal to viewers with a reflective and philosophical nature. But the film also has humor, which keeps it from being grim. The pace is slow. There's lots of silence and stillness, entirely appropriate, given the subject matter. Among other things, the film presents the novel idea that a supernatural being can be subject to human emotions, and can make mistakes in judgment resulting from those emotions.

The film is not perfect. The plot is a tad egocentric. There's no reference to the universality and ongoing occurrence of death outside the confines of this family. Also, why now? Why does death choose to engage life in our present world, why not five hundred years ago? Minor script changes could have addressed these issues. The initial meeting between Susan (Claire Forlani) and Joe Black seems a little too convenient, but forms the basis for a plot twist that strengthens the overall story.

The acting is excellent. Anthony Hopkins is, as usual, outstanding. I would not have cast Brad Pitt in the role he plays, but he does a good job. Appropriate for this movie, the acting style for both Pitt and Forlani is one wherein they communicate their characters to viewers largely by means of their eyes, which, as taught by ancient philosophers, are the windows of the soul.

For viewers who liked "The Sixth Sense", another serious film with depth of meaning, I recommend "Meet Joe Black" most highly.


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