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  • 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, 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.
  • Boyo-218 July 2002
    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 '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.
  • 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 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 wonderful comedy-fantasy that has all the wit of a good Woody Allen movie combined with genuine sweetness and good-naturedness. It's one of those rare films that achieve profundity without pushing for it; here it is done with the help of the clever structure. Albert Brooks delivers some great one-liners and wins the audience's affection easily, while Meryl Streep is atypically unaffected and Lee Grant is excellent in her supporting role. And who could ask for a better ending? (***)
  • 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.
  • Defending Your Life is one of those movies that has stuck with me over the years for some reason. The most likely one is that this film presents one of the most plausible and thought-provoking views of the afterlife that I have ever heard from a movie, or anywhere else for that matter. The protagonist (Brooks) dies and wakes up in Judgement City, where it's just like earth, only 70 degrees and clear all the time, and you can eat all of the most delicious food in existence that you want and not gain a pound.

    The catch is that you are essentially placed on trial. Several random days from your like are examined, and the judges decide whether you will "move on", or be sent back to earth to try again. The most interesting thing to me is that you aren't judged according to how well you followed the commandments, but on whether you let your fear keep you from making the right choices in your life. You see, fear is what keeps those of us on Earth (comically referred to as "little brains") from realizing our full potential.

    As great as this theory is, it's the character played by Albert Brooks that makes this film worth watching. We can sense his bewilderment, as well as his shame at not living his life as well as he could have. In fact, it is so easy to empathize with his character that I felt sorry for him, seeing myself in his place one day. But Don't get me wrong, Defending Your Life is also a very funny movie. Judgement City is a sort of parallel reality to our own, in ways that are very pleasant to see. And the ending is perfect. You owe it to yourself to see this movie.
  • Albert Brooks definitely gives us his take on the afterlife. After watching movies such as "Chances Are" "Ghost" and "Heart and Souls" afterlife hasn't looked better. Brooks is a comedic genius but not only as an actor but a writer and director as well.

    In addition, Brooks was joined in this film by Rip Torn and Meryl Streep, who are phenomenal talents of their own. Their additions to the movie makes it that much funnier and dramatically better.

    Aside from "What Dreams May Come," "Defending Your Life" is the best afterlife film I've seen because it is different than all the others. Brooks is a relief since his comedy is genuinely funny.

    This movie was a joy to watch because of the fun cast, unique plot and fun loving environment. Brooks, the writer, created the script with laughter in mind and enjoyment in his heart.

    The setting of "Defending Your Life" was very creative because it seemed so unique yet so real and true to life on earth. I was very impressed by the set designers at what they came up with to use as sets.

    Brooks created each scene with humor and wanted the film to be as original as possible. He succeeded because I enjoyed and laughed throughout the film and only original films do that for me.

    "Defending Your Life" will go down movie history as one of the more original and funnier films dealing with the afterlife. This is a must see for everyone.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    SPOILERS AHEAD

    First of all, I should tell you I completely identified with Daniel. He's as neurotic and insecure as I am.

    Great story, true to form. Great acting (I thought Lee Grant was particularly effective, though I am not a fan of Streep's). Though I can see why the film is not more popular: it's a bit cerebral. For me, that is its best quality. It's cerebral without being dry. I was moved, not just at the end, but throughout the film (particularly the scene where Daniel is a child watching his parents arguing).

    The ending is "feel good". I usually don't like "feel good" movies, because usually they manipulate our emotions solely for the purpose of delivering a happy ending. But in this case I feel that the ending was completely justified, and made me feel good to boot. I was emotionally invested, and when Daniel joins Julia on the bus, it was very true to the remainder of the story.

    The ending summations were great. After watching Torn's I though Daniel was "in". Then after watching Grant's summation, I knew he was in trouble. I thoroughly enjoyed Daniel's summation. He simply said "I'll do the best I can". That is the central message of the movie, and when he delivers it, he doesn't sound preachy or hokey. It comes off as simple, honest, and beautiful.

    And it was only after several viewings (and my sister pointing out to me) that I realized that Rip Torn sets up Daniel before he puts him on the bus. He tells him, "just take the opportunities when they come." He doesn't directly tell Daniel to go after Julia, but he's really setting him up.

    Finally, the sequence with Buck Henry was brilliant. In that sequence, Grant shows a mis-judgement by Daniel, but that mis-judgement is NOT fear-based, it was just a bad investment decision. Buck Henry does not point this out, and Daniel is feeling so guilty about the whole thing that he doesn't notice it himself. Just brilliant.

    I read all the comments that came before mine, and I was amazed to see that there were a couple of negative reviews. I guess that shows you can't please all the people all the time, though I was genuinely surprised.
  • 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 anyone who hasn't yet seen this movie to watch it and failed to be entertained. You won't be sorry.
  • This movie is the very definition of "feel good movie."

    This is a true laugh a minute while still managing to be insightful film. I watched this movie with my grandparents and all three of us burst out laughing at the same times. I don't think I've ever seen a movie where that's happened before. This movie will appeal to anyone... the jokes, you just can't miss them. It's touching and mind bogglingly hilarious at the same time. And the ending is phenomonal! Watch this movie just for the ending. :) Take two hours out of your life and watch a movie that I promise you, you won't soon forget. Watch it with your family and have someone to laugh with.

    I am going to see this movie over and over again, and I don't usually say that about movies. Interestingly enough, I was reading a self help book that turned out to be a complete bore the night before but which used "Defending Your Life" as an example for something they were trying to prove. I thought, hmm, that sounds interesting, but it's probably one of those old obscure movies I'll never get a chance to see. The very next day, I was in the video store just by chance, and while I was walking down the Comedy isle this movie jumped out at me. "Hey! That was the book I read about last night!" I thought. I got the movie and I wasn't dissapointed. What a way to make my day.

    Thank you Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    **Possible Spoilers** Writer, director and star Albert Brooks hits his stride to perfection in the out-of-this-world (literally) comedy `Defending Your Life,' which also stars Meryl Streep. Daniel Miller (Brooks) has just celebrated his birthday; on his way home from work, in a new car and with a stack of new CD's (presents from co-workers), he becomes distracted, has a close encounter with a bus, and does not survive. The next thing he knows, he's aboard a tram somewhere, en route to a place called `Judgment City,' which has all the amenities of a resort, and has the best food he's ever had, ever (and you can eat as much as you want, and never gain weight). He's put up in a fine hotel, and a phone call later he is in the office of Bob Diamond (Rip Torn), who he learns is to be his defense counselor in a trial during which his entire life is to be judged. Did he make the most of his life? Make the right decisions? Was he able to conquer his fears, or did he always take the easy way because he was afraid? The decision of the two Judges (George Wallace and Lillian Lehman) who will hear his case will determine his future. Will he have to `Go back,' and try it all again in another life on earth, or will he be deemed ready to `Move on.' Brooks has created a tableau of colorful, memorable characters here, surrounding Daniel Miller as we follow his progress from one hilarious scene to the next. As Julia, a fellow defendant whom Daniel meets and falls in love with, Meryl Streep is an absolute joy to watch. Lee Grant, as Lena Foster, Daniel's prosecutor, is also in top form. But Rip Torn, as the exuberant Bob Diamond, is the one who practically steals the show, with a performance that should have garnered him a best supporting actor nomination. The scene in which Diamond explains to Daniel that the average person on earth only uses three percent of available brain capacity (he calls them `Little brains') is hysterical. Other memorable scenes involve a visit by Daniel and Julia to the `Past Lives Pavilion,' wherein they encounter a number of surprises, and one in which they are having dinner, and Daniel is embarrassed by a waiter who wants to give him `nine pies' to take home, and by Julia, who digs into a plate of pasta with gusto and sucks in the longest noodle, apparently, in all of Judgment City, and all while Lena Foster looks on from another table across the room; all of which adds up to plenty of laughs. The supporting cast also includes Art Frankel (Arthur), Ernie Brown (Ernie), Gary Beach (Car salesman), Peter Schuck (Stan), Sharlie Stuart, and Buck Henry, doing an especially funny turn as Dick Stanley, a defense counselor who fills in for Bob Diamond one day, and who doesn't like to `toot his own horn.' `Defending Your Life' is a witty, imaginative conjuring by Brooks, who uses his magic formula to deliver a classic comedy that you will want to watch over and over again. And it will be the best you ever tasted, ever. I rate this one 10/10.
  • 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 way, but obviously, it was. Your gal will like this story for its romanticism, you'll like it for it's irony and comedy.
  • A sweet and playful comedy layered with heavenly romance. Writer-director-actor Albert Brooks had done nothing up to this point to prepare me for how truly poignant he can be on-screen, and his fast, natural wit as a writer never before mined the comic nuances he gets here. "Defending Your Life" actually manages a thoughtful take on the after-life without gumming up the scenario with gimmicks. After perishing in a car crash, Brooks' soul is transferred to Judgment City, where he is put on trial to determine if he's brave enough to move on to the next level. What is the next level? Brooks isn't interested in going that far (there are blessedly no religious overtones). Instead, he meets minty-fresh Meryl Streep and falls in love (who wouldn't? Streep wafts through the film like a romantic chum). Some of Brooks' ideas don't pan out, some jokes feel a little harsh, and a few questions remain (such as, why are there so many employees in Judgment City? Are they paying dues, are they rejected souls, or do they just have a fondness for manual labor?). Still, Brooks has never been so charming, and he also works wonders as a director. A pleasurable entertainment. ***1/2 from ****
  • pierredb27 May 2004
    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!
  • miken-327 January 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    This extremely entertaining film focuses on Albert Brooks as a man who dies in an accident and ends of in a stop-off point between Earth and Heaven. It turns out that when you die, your life is reviewed and if you merit it, you proceed to Heaven otherwise you are sent back to Earth to live your life again. The problem with Brooks is that he has been sent back so much that this is his last chance or he will be reduced to nothingness.

    Defending Brooks' life is his lawyer played brilliantly by Rip Torn against the vicious prosecutor (Lee Grant). While in a restaurant on the first night Brooks meets Meryl Streep who is also there for the same purpose.

    While Brooks' life was plagued with cowardice and failure, Streep was a valiant person that cared deeply for others. We can't figure out what Streep's attraction is for such a loser like Brooks but as their time together progresses, some of Streep's raw nerve start to rub off on Brooks.

    There are some really hilarious scenes including a cameo by Shirley MacClaine in the Hall of Memories and the differences in the hotels assigned to Streep and Brooks.

    I really loved this movie and can watch it over and over!
  • Albert Brooks definitely gives us his take on the afterlife. After watching movies such as "Chances Are" "Ghost" and "Heart and Souls" afterlife hasn't looked better. Brooks is a comedic genius but not only as an actor but a writer and director as well.

    In addition, Brooks was joined in this film by Rip Torn and Meryl Streep, who are phenomenal talents of their own. Their additions to the movie makes it that much funnier and dramatically better.

    Aside from "What Dreams May Come," "Defending Your Life" is the best afterlife film I've seen because it is different than all the others. Brooks is a relief since his comedy is genuinely funny.

    This movie was a joy to watch because of the fun cast, unique plot and fun loving environment. Brooks, the writer, created the script with laughter in mind and enjoyment in his heart.

    The setting of "Defending Your Life" was very creative because it seemed so unique yet so real and true to life on earth. I was very impressed by the set designers at what they came up with to use as sets.

    Brooks created each scene with humor and wanted the film to be as original as possible. He succeeded because I enjoyed and laughed throughout the film and only original films do that for me.

    "Defending Your Life" will go down movie history as one of the more original and funnier films dealing with the afterlife. This is a must see for everyone.
  • Albert Brooks is daring enough to look at the afterlife in a different way. However, the message is not about the afterlife but very much about your life now. Especially if you believe that you live only once, the message in this movie should speak to you even more, because that means there is only one chance, and if you fear to much to take it, well, that's that.

    Let's realize folks: Life has so much to offer us. Our hands are too small to handle it all, but let's not fear to take all we can handle......
  • We often wonder, what happens to us after we die? The mysteries of life after death have baffled the greatest minds in history.

    On and off successful public relations executive Daniel Miller, Albert Brooks, finds out the mystery of life after death, like we'll all do sooner or later, he dies. Driving his new BMW convertible and listening to a Barbra Streisand song Daniel drops a number of CD's and when he looks under the glove-compartment to pick them up he glides into the opposite lane and slams into a bus killing himself.

    Finding himself in a place called Judgment City after his death Daniel is giving a hotel room to stay and everything he can ever want to keep him comfortable as well as eat all he wants and not gain a single once. Daniel is later taken to a great courthouse where he meets his court-appointed defender or lawyer a Mr. Bob Diamond, Rip Thorn, where Daniel is told that he'll, like everyone else there, have to stand trial to defend his life that he just lived. Told by Bob that he's in an in-between world of existence where it will be decided if Daniel can go forward, in heaven?, in his advancement as a human being or go back to earth to be reincarnated to re-live a new life and see if he learned from his mistakes from his previous life.

    Nicely made Comedy/Drama about the after-life and what is and what is not really expected of us in life and what in the end were all judged for: fear, fear of doing what is right in life in making us better human beings as well as making those around us also feel better about themselves even if we fail in doing it. While in Judgment City Daniel meets and develops a friendship with Julia, Meryl Streep, who's such a sweet and caring as well as beautiful women that she opens Daniel up to all the thing that he suppressed in himself in life.

    Later when Danial is in court to face the judge Lena Foster, Lee Grant, he's shown events in his life where fear kept him from improving himself as well making the lives of those that he was involved with better Through his defender Bob the Judge is shown events where Daniel did overcome his fears and bettered himself as well as those around him. Unknown to Daniel his fear of being himself and doing what he knows is right has transcended from Earth to where he is now,Judgment City. It's in Judgment City not on Earth where Daniel will have to show those that are sitting in judgment of him that he can look fear right in the eye and it's fear not Daniel that in the end would blink.

    Wonderful movie about personal relationships that keep you going for your handkerchief throughout the entire film. Albert Brooks is fantastic as the defendant Daniel Miller who finally realizes what life is all about and how it's better to face your fears then walk away from them even if you end up losing in the end. Meryl Streep was both touching and lovely as the angelic Julia who's feelings for Daniel were at first misunderstood by him because on earth he, like most all of us, never met a person as sweet and understanding as well as saintly as Julia. David was just too scared and in a way intimidated to tell Julia what he really felt for her even though she did everything to put Daniel at ease when she was with him.

    Both Rip Torn and Lee Grant are also wonderful as the defender and judge of Daniel and you never had any bad feeling about them who in real life would have been motivated in their actions by personal success to acquit or convict Daniel. We saw in the movie both, the lawyer & Judge, were pulling for him and wanted him to succeed in his defense of his life on earth and the ending left you happy as well as emotionally drained.

    "Defending Your Life" is one of those few movies, like "It's a Wonderful Life", that really lifts your feet off the ground and puts your head in the clouds and makes you feel better about yourself as well as those around you. When outside after you've seen this wonderful film and people look at you as if your a bit odd by looking so serene and tranquil. What they don't know is what you just saw and hopefully, sooner or later, they'll see "Defending your Life" and feel the same way that you do.
  • With this picture, Albert Brooks really showed me what a talented writer and filmmaker he is. I know he already had a couple of great efforts under his hat by this point, but here he had to create his own version of the universe, no less, besides making his wry observations about humanity. This is 'The Universe as It REALLY is' according to Brooks (not just Earth, everything else, too). And, good heavens, he pulls it off. This makes other filmic 'fantasies' about the after-life (the '78 version of "Heaven Can Wait" comes to mind) look very simplistic and lazy by comparison.

    In Brooks' story, his character dies a few minutes after the film begins. He and the audience then find out what happens to us after death. In this version, instead of purgatory, there is a sort of pit-stop for our souls, where we review our lives in a court-like setting; a decision is then reached on whether we go back to live another life or 'go on.' I think each viewer interprets what 'going on' means based on their own beliefs. Myself, I didn't take that to mean going to heaven. The complicated structure of the universe as presented here would make that conclusion a bit too simple. I think it just means you go on to another higher level and continue learning. As stated bluntly in the film (by Rip Torn), the whole point of existence is to learn, to get smarter. It makes a whole lotta sense and I'm not sure even Brooks knew what he was tapping into with these profound observations. Eventually, a soul may reach a state of ultimate knowledge, or Nirvana - or whatever you want to call it.

    But, Brooks thought everything out before he committed it to film. As the story progresses, we learn more about how the universe works, mostly courtesy of Torn. Pretty much everything seems to be worked out, as if Brooks asked himself a ton of possible questions and then answered them. I did have a couple of questions in my mind after the movie was over, such as how are really bad people handled in such an inoffensive easygoing setting? I mean, serial killers, rapists, mass murderers - the ones thought of as unrepentant (Torn does state there is no hell). All the people we see in Judgement City are quite nice - the worst one was a guy who dabbled in pornography and you got the idea he was gonna have a lotta trouble in his trial. Perhaps Torn provides the answer to even this, when he mentions teenagers are sent to a different pit-stop. Also, why do children automatically go on? Aren't they souls from previous lives? Why did they go back only to move on after dying as children? Or are they special new souls? As we see, a picture such this also raises as many questions as it does answers. That happens with the best films.
  • This film went on a magnificent concept. What if when you died you had to defend every action you made in life, every good step, and every embarrassing mistake. Would you qualify to move on to Heaven, or doomed

    for another try on Earth until you get it right. Albert Brooks is ever the everyman trying to show that his meek existence meant something, and that he has learned from his past mistakes. Meryl Streep is also wonderful as the perfect heroine, she is flawless. As you view her life you almost wish you were her, or at the very least were friends with her.

    It's a great movie, but overall I am glad it is just that. Mainly, because I would never make it into heaven. I just know that I would be looking at the time I helped my best friend shave his ex-girlfriend's cat. Yikes!!!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Defending Your Life" was funny, sweet and gets you a bit teary eyed toward the end.

    As the film opens Daniel Miller(Albert Brooks, who also directed)dies when his brand new car slams headlong into a bus. The next thing he knows, he is in Judgement City. It seems that this is where you go when you die. It is not heaven or hell, but rather a place in which you are judged (Although they say it is not a trial)on your life. Seems that fear is a big no-no, and Daniel has had a load of it in his life (and previous lifetimes, it seems). Bob Diamond (Rip Torn, in an amusing performance)helps him to "defend his life." If Daniel succeeds, he is allowed to go forward. If not, he is sent back to Earth to start again in a new life.

    It is during his stay in Judgement City that he meets Julia (Meryl Streep), who is incredibly sweet and seems to have a better time dealing with this turn of events than Daniel, as well as a much better hotel room. What Julia really enjoys is the fact that, while you're in Judgement City, you can eat as much food as you want without gaining an ounce (And the food is very good. You get hungry just watching!). It is also during his stay that he begins to fall in love with Julia, who is assured of going forward. Will Daniel be able to go with her?

    This film has a very interesting concept: that unless you conquer your fear, you will not be able to go forward in life. It can certainly make you wonder if you have conquered your own fears. If you are not a fan of the films of Albert Brooks (Not including Finding Nemo), then this is a good point to start. Look out for a cameo from Shirley MacLaine.
  • Albert Brooks definitely gives us his take on the afterlife. After watching movies such as "Chances Are" "Ghost" and "Heart and Souls" afterlife hasn't looked better. Brooks is a comedic genius but not only as an actor but a writer and director as well.

    In addition, Brooks was joined in this film by Rip Torn and Meryl Streep, who are phenomenal talents of their own. Their additions to the movie makes it that much funnier and dramatically better.

    Aside from "What Dreams May Come," "Defending Your Life" is the best afterlife film I've seen because it is different than all the others. Brooks is a relief since his comedy is genuinely funny.

    This movie was a joy to watch because of the fun cast, unique plot and fun loving environment. Brooks, the writer, created the script with laughter in mind and enjoyment in his heart.

    The setting of "Defending Your Life" was very creative because it seemed so unique yet so real and true to life on earth. I was very impressed by the set designers at what they came up with to use as sets.

    Brooks created each scene with humor and wanted the film to be as original as possible. He succeeded because I enjoyed and laughed throughout the film and only original films do that for me.

    "Defending Your Life" will go down movie history as one of the more original and funnier films dealing with the afterlife. This is a must see for everyone.
  • While driving his brandy new BMW, the yuppie Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) distracts with his CD player and crash a bus. He awakes in the Judgment City, a place in the afterlife where his accomplishment in life will be judge to decide whether he shall move on or return to another life on Earth. With support of the defender Bob Diamond (Rip Torn), Daniel must prove that he has overcame the fears of his previous life but the tough prosecutor Lena Foster (Lee Grant) has evidences showing that Daniel was a coward. Meanwhile Daniel meets the enlightened Julia (Meryl Streep) that has had a perfect life and will certainly move on to the next step of her journey; however they fall in love for each other and Daniel does not want to lose his true love.

    "Defending Your Life" is a delightfully cute and pleasant romance with an original story about the afterlife. This is maybe the best movie of the annoying Albert Brook, and Meryl Streep is adorable as I have never seen before in the role of a woman that had a perfect life on Earth. I saw this film in 1991 and only today I have decided to see it again, and surprisingly the timeless tale has not aged. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "Um Visto para o Céu" ("A Visa to the Heaven")
  • I've seen this move several times and just love it. I agree with

    some of the others that this is Albert Brooks best, next to

    Broadcast News. I love that his life on earth was seemingly

    meaningless and although it looked as though he had a good job,

    money, and relative success, ie; driving a new BMW, although

    hilarious when he refers to the small one as a "turd", he is clearly

    missing something in his "life". After he goes to judgement city

    and goes on trial it soon becomes abundantly clear that his

    lifetime of fear has held him back from being the best he could be

    and keeping him from true happiness and freedom. He continues

    the same pattern behavior after he meets Julia (meryl streep) the

    woman of his dreams. Above all she is everything that he ever

    wanted in life and death, but because of his fears he is likely to

    blow this too.

    I think this movie made an excellent point and while we all search

    for the meaning of life and happiness it seems obvious that the

    ones who seem to get the most out of life are the courageous

    ones who are not afraid of anything, even death, which is what

    makes their lives so meaningful. I think that this film made an

    excellent point to say that only when you conquer your fears that

    have been holding you back do you get to move onward. It really

    makes you think.
  • I hate to give a cliche but this film gave me an optimistic insight to what heaven will be like. Just to look back on your life like a movie would be the ultimate nostalgia (the idea of eating anything you want without gaining weight is nice too). Rip Torn gives another comical performance but Albert Brooks, like always, makes this movie entertaining and fun to watch. This is one of my favorite movies of all time and I recommend it highly.
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