Are you ready to die? What would you do, if Death came to tell you that your life was over because it was "your time?" (You may run to pack for the trip to the netherworld if that man were Brad Pitt). In this film, Death comes calling, taking the form of a handsome young man (Brad Pitt). Death approaches wealthy businessman William Parrish (Anthony Hopkins) to tell him that his life is about to end. As a robust, gregarious man who loves his life, Parrish is unwilling to go easily. Out of curiosity at his passionate determination to remain living, Death offers him a deal: he will sustain Parrish's life if he will give Death a tour of exactly why life is so meaningful to him. Parrish reluctantly agrees to show Death his life.
To explain the presence of the enigmatic young man who now accompanies him everywhere, Parrish tells his family and friends that the man is a consultant named Joe Black. Joe follows Parrish around as he interacts with his employees and even his family. Joe is immediately intrigued with Parrish's youngest daughter, Susan (Claire Forlani), a confident young doctor who finds Joe eerily familiar. As his tour draws to an end, Joe/Death begins to see just how beautiful life can be through Susan and despite her father's frantic warnings, Susan begins to fall for Joe. He in turn, is drawn to her beauty and fascinated by her pure heart. He is so captivated he decides to spare Parrish's life so that Susan can be with Death for eternity. Parrish furiously protests that his daughter will not be part of their deal and argues for her life.
"Meet Joe Black" is an intricately detailed fable of how Death and love can truly change lives. Brad Pitt is just wonderful as the simply complex Death - so unwittingly cruel and so naive about love and the preciousness of life. He is truly belivable in his role and conveys an understated sense of indifference to the lives he interrupts. Anthony Hopkins is perfect as the stubborn man who has throughly enjoyed his life and refuses to give up without a fight.
The film is gorgeous, the roles were perfectly cast, but it has one slight flaw: it is incredibly long. Whether it's the fascinating but meandering dialogue, or the lovely but detailed scenes, the movies drags at a few minutes shy of three hours.