Tuesday, January 31, 2012

'Meet Joe Black' Open Thread

What did you think?

Read the whole discussion back at the original post here.


  1. There is much to be said about this show, as it is of interest from a number of different angles. I think one interesting story line exists in the difficulty of the "Angel of Death" taking on human form to understand human life. Another is the romance that wells up between the character "Joe" and Bill Parrish's younger daughter, Susan. For me what was most compelling was the conflict within the family itself, and Bill's effort in the little time he had left to convey something important to those he loved.

    After the initial shock of being confronted by death, with the certainty that his time here had come to its end, Bill becomes preoccupied by the fate of his company. He has to address the manner in which he will leave. He is certain that there is something wrong with the deal with John Bontecou, and his gut tells him that the merger may not move his company into the future. In truth it doesn't move his company forward at all, but rather moves it away from the principles that he founded and ran it by. Bill looks to protect his company's future, and refuses the merger offer. "Joe" doesn't understand this, Bill's preoccupation with the striving of life, and it strikes "Joe" as very curious. Bill's explanation of not wanting his life work torn down led "Joe" to his first insight into human passion, all of which is dwarfed by the far stronger passions he comes to get just a hint of, but which are central to the movie. The story about the business conflict was all just a backdrop to the larger passions, the loves of Bill's life, and love in general, that "Joe" through his time with Bill and his family comes to gain an understanding of. It is not the business that is important to Bill, it is the wife he lost and the girls he will leave behind.

    In general, I enjoyed the relationships that Bill had with his family, and his desire to use the little time he had left to communicate to them both the love he had for them. I loved his asking them back to his place for dinner. He did so each night till the end, and it was a part of his sharing time with those he loved the most. Alison's incessant buzzing around and effort to do something spectacular with the party for her Dad struck him as much like many of the things she had become involved in over her life. His dislike of the fuss and lack of involvement in the process were understood by Alison as meaning that she wasn't worth his time or attention. He doesn't care about what I am doing meant to her what she feared, which was that he doesn't care about me. This underlying fear came to a head at the dinner where she asked him to choose a cake for the party. The party wasn't important to Bill, but Alison certainly was, and it was at this dinner that Bill finally came to understood how he had been misunderstood. When he calls her name and reaches across to her, picks up a fork and chooses a cake for her .. to her relief and delight, I just loved that. And their final scene together, where he tries to apologize, and she doesn't let him, and tells him that he was a wonderful father, and that she always felt loved, that meant a lot to me as well.

  2. Read the whole discussion back at the original post here.