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Festivale online magazine, December, 1998
Meet Joe Black movie review
Meet Joe Black

"This is the one situation you knew you never could handle"

We know that one day, death will walk through our door, but we don't mean that literally. Neither did William Parrish (Anthony Parrish), but one night death whispers to him, and the next, there in his wonderful Olympus-high, two-storey library is death. Incarnate. Literally.

And let me tell you, Brad Pitt is an Angel of Death worthy of a Renaissance painter's brush.

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Meet Joe Black movie poster
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Meet Joe Black is one of the most beautifully-filmed movies around, the three-storey Parrish penthouse is a joy to look at, from its envy-worthy library to the fresco-domed swimming pool room.

At 176 minutes, this film is as long as Titanic without the action. Instead, the time is spent lovingly recording the characters' experiences. Which has attracted criticism from some who feel that the film needs a good cutting.

Personally, I was content to sit through the film, sniffling and enjoying Death's Starman-like exploration of the human body and experiences. As the young lawyer, Pitt gets to play the charming young man-of-our-dreams -- intelligent, comfortable, enthusiastic. As Death, he is wears his body (and clothes) awkwardly. Hopkins as the tycoon with the heart of gold is his usual wonderful self. Claire Forlani was a bit drippy -- playing 'luminous beauty' when more edge would have been more interesting.
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Jeffrey Tambor as Quince in Meet Joe Black
On the other hand Jeffrey Tambor was an absolute joy. Playing Parrish's slow-and-steady son-in-law, he portrays a thoroughly nice man with the right blend of innocence and angst. Tambor's performance is one of the highpoints of the film.

Make no mistake, this remake of Death Takes a Holiday is an unabashed tear-jerker. You need to be willing to let the story unfold slowly, but if you are, this film is a treat.

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Brad Pitt and Claire Forlani in Meet Joe Black

Death and taxes.

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See also: Brad Pitt also appears in Sleepers
Anthony Hopkins also appears in Amistad, The Edge, The Mask of Zorro,
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Just the facts:

Title: Meet Joe Black (1998)
Written by: Ron Osborn & Jeff Reno and Kevin Wade and Bo Goldman
Directed by: Martin Brest
Produced by: Martin Brest
Edited by: Joe Hutshing, Michael Tronick
Director of Photography: Emmanuel Lubezki
running time: 176 mins

The Players: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Forlani, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeffrey Tambor, Jake Weber
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Festivale Online Magazine
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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: Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia : copyright © Festivale 1998 All rights reserved
Filed:22-Nov-1998 : Last updated: 1-Mar-1999:Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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