When you die, you don’t go to heaven or to hell. You go to a
place called Judgment City, where you quickly discover that you only use 3-5%
of your brain (enlightened people use 20 to 60% of their brains). You’re
assigned a defense attorney and your case goes before the Judgment court, where
they review your life. If you can prove that you conquered your fears while on
earth, you can move on to the next phase. If not, you’re reincarnated on earth
for a second chance.
At least, that’s how it goes in Defending Your Life, which stars Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep. Brooks plays Daniel, an advertising executive who dies in a car crash and wakes up in Judgment City. He quickly falls for Julia (Meryl Streep), who has obviously had a much kinder, courageous life than he has. Her trial goes well, his goes poorly, and they’re separated as he heads back to earth to try again and she moves on to the next phase.
That, of course, is not quite how the film ends, and the mad dash to “get the girl” is one of the best I’ve ever seen in a romantic film. Defending Your Life is a warm film with a sappy heart that actually makes you take stock of your life and how you’re spending your time on earth.
~ Evan Derrick
68 - Finding Nemo»