The Discovery

Rated: TV-MA

        In case you haven’t read my post on what Chester Bennington’s death means to me, it hit me hard. I cried harder and mourned longer for him than some of my own relatives. Which is why, when I stumbled upon The Discovery on Netflix about a week after Chester’s death, my husband was hesitant to let me watch it. The film centers heavily on suicide, which understandably worried my husband while I was in such a fragile state. But the film seemed too interesting to pass up, despite its dark under and overtones. I was determined to watch it no matter what.
        The summary for the film says, “In the near future, the world is off-balance. People have learned that there is indeed an afterlife, and death has lost meaning, due to a breakthrough scientific discovery by Dr. Thomas Harbor. While countless people have chosen suicide in order to "re-set" their existence, others go on, trying to decide what it all means.”
The Discovery stars Jason Segal in his most serious role to date. I was a little apprehensive about how Segal would handle such a dramatic role, but he did so rather flawlessly. His regular quiet and mellow demeanor was perfect for this role, and I honestly can’t think of anyone who would’ve better fit the part. It’s yet to be seen if he’s taking a dramatic turn in his career or if this was kind of a one shot deal, but I certainly won’t look at him the same after his performance in this role.
        Another thing that impressed me about this film was the premise itself. It’s a film about the afterlife by and large, and yet it wasn’t religious in any way. I’m not a religious person, and have a hard time sitting through things that push those sorts of messages, which is why I usually avoid movies that include these themes.
The Discovery didn’t push any sort of religious message though. The film is writers Justin Lader and Charlie McDowell’s take on what the afterlife is, but never once mentioned God or hell or heaven. It focused entirely on the “science” behind the discovery itself and the characters’ interpretations of what people’s afterlives looked like. This in itself ensures this film will be accessible and enjoyed by a wider audience.
The Discovery is a dark film, but its overall message is one of hope. Writer/director Charlie McDowell made sure that this nebulous story wouldn’t drag people fully to its depths, by peppering plenty of darkly comedic moments throughout.  The end result is a film that is introspective, humbling and thoughtful in the best of ways.

        The Discovery was written by Justin Lader and Charlie McDowell and was directed by Charlie McDowell. It stars Jason Segal, Robert Redford and Rooney Mara. It’s available now on Netflix. More information about the film can be found here:
  • The Discovery on IMDB