The existence of the afterlife is one of life's biggest questions. Is there another place people go to when they die? What is it? The Discovery takes place in a world where the existence of such a place has been proven. As a result millions of people kill themselves knowing that there is something waiting for them. However it is unclear what exactly that place is still and that is keeping a majority of people alive on earth but the next revelation is just around the corner.
I thought this made for a fantastic premise and one where the ideas were interesting and could make for an engaging discussion on what it means to be alive and if we do go on to another life what exactly would be the point of living if there was something else waiting for you. The film does somewhat explore the topic but mostly meanders in a quasi love story and a mystery that ends up being somewhat bland overall. I feel as though maybe the idea of it was better than actually trying to create a story surrounding it.
It does feature an all star cast in Jason Segel, Rooney Mara and Robert Redford in an almost cult like atmosphere and Redford's character, the discoverer of "The Discovery" attempts to find out exactly what happens after death. Unfortunately I felt as thought the characters were a little weak. You have non believers, some on the fence and some pushing the boundaries to see what is going on but all of it amounts to a somewhat underwhelming answer in my opinion. I didn't particularly care for the characters in any way they were all pretty unlikable and in a film dealing with death and the afterlife, having characters where you care what happens to them is important. The mystery of what exactly happens stretches the film out too far and the love story doesn't earn its conclusion. The result is one that may have worked better as a short film rather than the one we got and really there isn't a whole lot here to recommend. Aside from the fantastic set up there isn't much there to keep you invested other than finding out what goes on and the answer is really not overly compelling and I think that is the film's downfall. It gave an answer to a question that any answer would probably not do it justice.
Honestly while I don't regret watching it, I can't entirely recommend it either. The questions it raises at the beginning are fascinating and the length people go to find the truth are equally interesting but the rest of the film is just a whole lot of filler that don't amount to much of anything. Rather than exploring the wide reaching implications of what has happened to the world we focus on the people at the center of it and they are pretty unphased by the whole thing. Read a summary and enjoy the idea of what the whole film is about but really don't waste your time with it because there really isn't much going on under the surface.