Rating: 4/5 Stars
Recommended To: Fans of Soul Survivors, Identity, The Jacket; people who would have liked I Know Who Killed Me if the dialogue and acting were way better;
Special Warnings: Lots of scenes in a funeral home – may bring out the squick in you
My girl boner for Christina Ricci is the primary reason I decided to give this film a go when it popped up as a new addition to the Netflix Canada collection. I heart Christina forever. But there’s plenty more reasons to give After.Life a play.
Ricci plays Anna Taylor, a teacher with a detachment towards life, including her devoted boyfriend Paul (Justin Long). As Paul prepares to propose to his beloved Anna, her paranoia and disbelief that he (or anyone) could ever love her leads to her rushing out, assuming he is having an affair or leaving her. Driving recklessly, Anna crashes her car – and ‘awakens’ on the table in the funeral home. Liam Neeson informs her that she is dead, and he will help her cross over as he has done many times with many other lingering souls.
Obviously, Anna doesn’t take this news well.
Also unable to cope, Paul refuses to believe Anna is gone, an emotional breakdown only fueled by everyone refusing to let him see her body (he is not family, legally, and her mother has barred him access, blaming him for ruining her daughter’s life). The more he persists in trying to push past Eliot’s locked doors and thin explanations, the more he begins to wonder, as Anna herself does: is she really dead at all?
Although imperfect, After.Life is worth seeing for two reasons: 1) Liam Neeson is creepy as fuck, which was so jarring to me – in a good way; and 2) beneath the storyline, there’s an excellent thought process on living and dying, communicated predominantly through Eliot’s discussions with Anna as he prepares her to accept her death and move on. It’s a thinking movie that perhaps gets lost beneath the suspense on the surface for some, and a better movie than the reviews suggest.
How do you die when you’re already dead?