Defending Your Life

"The first true story of what happens after you die."

Albert Brooks wrote, directed and starred in Defending Your Life. It is a fantasy comedic romance co-starring Meryl Streep. Brooks plays Daniel Miller. Daniel is a self-involved advertising salesman who just went through a difficult separation. On his birthday, Daniel dies when he is hit by a bus. He arrives in Judgment City. He learns that Judgment City is like a purgatory area populated by the recently deceased. The residents of Judgment City are waiting to undergo a judgment process to see if they will move onto the next level of being or if they have to be re-incarnated back to earth.

Judgment City isn’t all bad. They have plenty of entertainment options, and they have multiple gourmet restaurants that are all-you-can-eat. The best part is that no one will gain any weight, and there is no consequence for over indulgence.

Daniel meets his defense attorney, Bob Diamond (Rip Torn), who is responsible for making an argument for Daniel to move on. The opposing attorney is Lena Foster (Lee Grant), who has a great won-loss record in her cases. Over the course of his trial, they review different instances in his life where Daniel proved whether he was evolved enough to move on to the next level of being. They review several different instances that are embarrassing to Daniel, and he appears to be losing his case.

During the evening, Daniel goes out with a new friend that he met in Judgment City. Julia, played by Streep, is a wonderfully engaging drowning victim who gets Daniel to step out of his comfort zone and try new things. Daniel quickly falls in love with Julia and is upset that they will get separated after their trials. The two make a hilarious stop at the “Past Lives Pavilion” where theatre goers can see who they were in their past lives. Daniel finds out that he was a jungle dweller running away from a lion, while Julia sees that she was Sir Gallahad.

The film ends with Daniel making a bold decision to proclaim his love for Julia and take a serious risk to pursue her.

PG
| 2001 | 1 hr 52 min | 7.3/10
Cast
Studio
Director
Albert Brooks
Language
English
Defending Your Life
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