Defending Your Life

Defending Your Life

3.3 3

Cast: Albert Brooks, Meryl Streep, Rip Torn, Lee Grant

     
 

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Albert Brooks wrote, directed, and stars in this philosophical comedy about a man having a hard time making a case for himself in the afterlife. When advertising executive Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) finds himself in a fatal car crash minutes after taking delivery on a new BMW, he's whisked away to Judgment City, where the recently dead are put on a sort of trial to… See more details below

Overview

Albert Brooks wrote, directed, and stars in this philosophical comedy about a man having a hard time making a case for himself in the afterlife. When advertising executive Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) finds himself in a fatal car crash minutes after taking delivery on a new BMW, he's whisked away to Judgment City, where the recently dead are put on a sort of trial to decide their fate. If in your time on Earth you were able to face your fears and learn from your mistakes, you get to move on to a life in a better world. However, if you didn't, you have to go back to Earth and try again. As he spends the next several days watching various episodes from his life, Daniel gets the impression he doesn't stand much of a chance of moving on -- and his representative, Bob Diamond (Rip Torn), seems to have little confidence in his case. In the meantime, he frequents Judgment City's many restaurants (where the food is delicious and you can eat all you want without gaining an ounce), pays a visit to the Past Life Pavilion, and meets Julia (Meryl Streep), who seems so kind, sweet, and noble that her advancement is practically assured. Daniel and Julia fall in love, but what's going to happen if they don't end up in the same place? Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep make a witty and engaging romantic team in Defending Your Life, and Shirley MacLaine appears in a highly appropriate cameo.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Enchanting, always funny, sometimes hilarious, and featuring a surprisingly light comic performance from the ever adaptable Meryl Streep, this is the most likeable and endearing comedy to date for writer/director/star Albert Brooks. His satirical edge, so sharp in his three previous films -- Real Life (1979), Modern Romance (1981), and Lost in America (1985) -- seems at first glance to have been dulled, even if his funny bone is still in perfect working order. But Brooks is still mocking the human race; it's just that his humor has become gentler, suggesting that his longtime bitterness has evolved into a bemused, perceptive wisdom. Those who have become addicted to the Brooks oeuvre and its underlying neurotic cynicism might be dismayed that their favorite artistic pessimist has created a film that can be labeled heartwarming. But most Brooks fans will be delighted to find intact the brand of raw, naked honesty about the writer/director's own shortcomings they expect, treated with a tender forgiveness that's a new development to be sure, but an entirely welcome one. Peopled with memorable supporting players (particularly Rip Torn as a gruff but amiable legal eagle), and overflowing with creative ideas about the afterlife and its machinations, Defending Your Life amounts to a must-see film from one of the funniest, most under-appreciated filmmakers of our time.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/26/1999
UPC:
0085391706434
Original Release:
1991
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Albert Brooks Daniel Miller
Meryl Streep Julia
Rip Torn Bob Diamond
Lee Grant Lena Foster
Buck Henry Dick Stanley
Shirley MacLaine Herself
Scott S. Bullock Daniel's Father
Barbara Claman Actor
Raffi Di Blasio Daniel as a Boy
Mark Dunlap Tram Port Attendant
Mark Saks Actor
Alex Sheafe Martin
Michael Durrell Agency Head
James Eckhouse Jeep Owner
Gary Beach Car Salesman
Julie Cobb Tram Guide
Peter Schuck Stan
Tim Winters Porter
Sharlie Stuart Susan
Beth Black Soap Opera Woman
Clayton Norcross Soap Opera Man
James MacKrell Game Show Moderator
Wil Albert Game Show Contestant
Sage Allen Game Show Contestant
Mary Pat Gleason Waitress
Maxine Hicks Woman on bus
Marilyn Rockafellow Helen
Roger Behr Comedian
Art Frankel Arthur
Ernie Brown Ernie
George D. Wallace Daniel's Judge
Lillian Lehman Daniel's Judge
Kristopher Kent Hill Bully
Eric Ehasz Child in Schoolyard
Matthew Scharch Daniel as an Infant
Carol Bivins Daniel's Mother
Gary Ballard Mr. Wadworth
Mary Mukogawa Sushi Hostess
Toshio Shikami Head Sushi Chef
Kagko Shikami Sushi Chef
Samee Park Sushi Chef
Tommy Inouye Sushi Chef
Ken Thorley Frank
Bob Braun Talk Show Host
Jennifer Barlow Talk Show Guest
Joey Miyashima Casio Tipster
Nurit Koppel Daniel's Date
Susan Walters Daniel's Wife
Sidney Chankin Used Car Salesman
Greg Finley Used Car Salesman
Leonard Turner Sam
Cliff Einstein Julia's Prosecutor
Rachel Bard Julia's Judge
Newell Alexander Julia's Judge
Hal Landon Man in Past Lives Pavilion
Ida Lee Woman in Past Lives Pavilion
Noley Thornton Victorian Girl
Glen Chin Sumo Wrestler
James Ekim Native
Clarke Coleman Knight
Ron Colby Majestic Doorman
David Purdham Peter
James Paradise Stage Manager
Jerry Prell Banquet Manager
Arell Blanton Fire Marshall
Shana Ballard Julia's Daughter
Chris Macris Julia's Son
Joseph Darrell Maitre d'
James Manis Eduardo
Cathleen Chin Ticket Counter Agent
Lisa Sears Tram Port Attendant
Vernon Roguen Tram Port Attendant
Dennis Germain Tram Driver
Ethan Randall Steve

Technical Credits
Albert Brooks Director,Screenwriter
Thomas D. Causey Sound/Sound Designer
Allen Daviau Cinematographer
Linda de Scenna Set Decoration/Design
David Finfer Editor
Michael Gore Score Composer
Robert Grand Co-producer
Michael Grillo Producer
Herb Nanas Executive Producer
Ida Random Production Designer
Richard Reynolds Art Director
Deborah L. Scott Costumes/Costume Designer

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