DEFENDING YOUR LIFE
On his 39th birthday, Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) gets hit by a bus and sent to the afterlife. There, he must defend his life on Earth and show that he’s conquered his fears.
Freshly arrived in Judgement City, a Purgatory-esque way station, Daniel (Brooks) joins the afterlife community of the recently deceased. Judgement City boasts various Earth-like amenities such as bowling and restaurants with food that contain no calories. There, the judgement process begins. Daniel’s defense attorney Bob Diamond (Rip Torn) works to advocate for Daniel’s time spent on earth to guarantee his readiness to move on to a higher form of existence. Should Bob fail, Daniel would be reincarnated and sent back to Earth, destined to repeat the whole process. Over the course of Daniel’s trial, he meets and quickly falls for the beautiful Julia (Meryl Streep), who, in contrast, seems to have lived a life of great courage and generosity. Bob attempts to show the court Daniel’s daring side, though his opponent Lena Foster (Lee Grant), known as the “Dragon Lady,” reveals his various foibles and cowardly actions. As Daniel’s fate hangs in the balance, he and Julia continue to strengthen their relationship, though the reality of their possibly separate outcomes looms above them. Delivering a career-highlight performance, the late Rip Torn shines as the cantankerous yet caring lawyer. Written and directed by the incomparable Albert Brooks, Defending Your Life is a twistedly hilarious supernatural rom-com that still rings true today.
CAST: ALBERT BROOKS, MERYL STREEP, RIP TORN, LEE GRANT
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