If you're the kind of person who likes to question and ponder things like life, the universe, and everything then this film will sing to your soul. The directing and acting are very good as is the story line. The film dives into the topic of human afterlife and consciousness while providing a little romance along the way. This is the perfect movie for a couple to sit back and enjoy together or even if you're just by yourself.
The premise for this movie was really interesting, which is why I decided to watch it. However, the plot was really lacking in the imaginative details I was hoping for. We never hear any stories about the afterlife, or see the afterlife, or learn about how it was discovered. The characters spend the whole movie trying to film what they think is the afterlife, only to disprove the main plot line in the process. We just end up with an anticlimactic story line and an unnecessary love story that did nothing for the overall film. It's only purpose was to give the main character a reason to keep living in a time loop of what was primarily a very mundane moment.
Lookie here: an intelligent sci-fi movie. This means usually that almost everybody in it is downtrodden and serious all the time, the atmosphere is sombre and the story makes attempts to challenge us intellectually. All these boxes have been checked in The Discovery", too. Son (Jason Segel) accuses father (Robert Redford) for mother's suicide. Father doesn't argue, is too busy with searching the truth about afterlife. After he unveiled the proof of its existence, many have just gone and killed themselves, so further studies are in order. Also playing, Rooney Mara, Jesse Plemons, Mary Steenburgen, Riley Keough. Premiered at Sundance film festival and distributed worldwide by Netflix, The Discovery" ain't bad but as a whole, it's not especially good either. I would place the blame on co- writer/director Charlie McDowell succeeds in generating some suspense throughout the movie but has not discovered how to make story somehow interesting also visually, and has only gotten mediocre performances out of most actors involved, especially the three leads. Jesse Plemons – unknown but with lots of TV experience – is by far the most expressive and memorable actor of the bunch here. Steenburgen, too, is good as always although she has only couple minutes of screen time. Still, it's interesting to see Segel of the Apatow bunch taking on a rare serious part. And it's always nice to meet Redford again whose better days as an actor ended with the 20th century. The screen legend is 81 already, and has lost most of his facial expressiveness by now, so his performance is suitably creepy considering his role and the dark atmosphere of the movie. Movies like this tend to receive more favorable critics' reaction when they're all indie and/or made in Spain or something (at least outside the US). Thus the score is low in both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic: 55/100 and 45/100, respectively. The IMDb users have been reacting better, the score is 6.3/10 which seems more adequate to me. A fun fact: Mara is co-writer/director McDowell's girlfriend and Steenburgen is his mother.
Solid film with an interesting story. The concept is great and probably a lot of people relate to it as it asks one of the biggest questions of humanity. Is there an after life and if there is how does it look like? I like that this is only the plot outline for something that goes very philosophical and even deeper. The twists were fine, and in the end it had a little bit of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" spice. Acting wise everybody was on the top of their game. Nothing award worthy but believable enough. Jason Segel nicely played against his typical character and it was definitely an inspired choice to cast him in the leading role of this film. Rooney Mara was great as usual. She really is one of the most interesting and versatile actresses around these days. I liked Robert Redford, who wasn't doing anything too special but still absolutely right for his role. Jesse Plemons is always a plus. The screenplay was good and it had some really nice shots. Its a film that works for its characters and story more than any effects. It has a nice moral and good ending. Sometimes it was maybe a little slow and not all of the final conclusion makes sense but especially he last scene really hit me at the right spots.