By Sharon Foss
Best line of the movie: “Why do you have to die? To make life important.”
After.Life brings one deep issue into the forefront. When it’s your time to go, will you go willingly? Or will you discover that you have squandered the time you are given, in such a manner that when your clock strikes 12, you fight it, kicking and screaming? If today were your last day, what will you have left unsaid? Undone?
After.Life is a sobering look at the possibilities of what happens when life ceases to revolve around you. Written and directed by Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, the movie begins with Anna and Paul. The couple, played by Christina Ricci and Justin Long, are having a tough time in their relationship. Anna just isn’t happy. She can’t pinpoint why, but she’s restless and unsettled and just wants love. Paul gives her these things, but it’s not good enough. And then it’s too late. Anna dies in a car crash after a fight with Paul.
But is she truly dead? According to her, no. According to the mortician Eliot Deacon, played by Liam Neeson, she is very much dead but won’t accept it. Deacon is not new to his profession. Deacon is the beacon of the after life. He prides himself on talking to the corpses he works on, helping them understand their deaths. More importantly, he tries to help them understand their lives. His job is not only to make them look good in death, but help them transition to the after life.
As we learn, some accept the end of their lives and some do not. There is a limited time to accept the hand that fate has dealt you, however. It’s up to you if you play your hand, or ask for a new one.
The haunting music of After.Life sets the tone to bring you to the place where Anna finds herself, and where Paul refuses to accept. It helps you understand the tale the story tells, in a haunting, beautiful way. The music doesn’t let the movie fall into one specific genre. It’s not a horror movie, it’s not a thriller and it’s not a drama. It is, in fact, a little bit of everything rolled into one.
Be warned: One distraction throughout the film is seeing Ricci naked. A lot. While this is an obvious aspect of the movie, what with her being a corpse and all, having to view this actress naked just isn’t an appetizing feature of the film.
Remember, don’t let your life squander. Each day is valuable, as one day it may be your last, whether you agree with it or not.