The Meaning of Life

Life's questions are 'answered' in a series of outrageous vignettes, beginning with a staid London insurance company which transforms before our eyes into a pirate ship. Then there's the National Health doctors who try to claim a healthy liver from a still-living donor. The world's most voracious glutton brings the art of vomiting to new heights before his spectacular demise.


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  • ★★★★ review by DirkH on Letterboxd

    'Every Sperm is Sacred' is perhaps one of the most beautiful and life affirming songs ever written.

  • ★★★★ review by YI JIAN on Letterboxd

    (See: Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

    I'm trying to come up with a reason as to why, despite not liking Holy Grail, I was amused by The Meaning of Life. The two share the same style and the same absurdist humor. Yet unlike my first attempt at the Monty Python series, something clicked here. I was actually having fun! It's not like they've toned down or anything, quite the opposite really, they've went even further over the top this time. It's longer, gorier, and quite unbelievably -- even more random. Characters and settings change in a matter of seconds, the narrator can just interrupt halfway and turn the story upside down. Perhaps this is the reason. The Meaning of Life does not try to make sense. It's just a handful of jokes pieced together to make a film. It has taken advantage of its chaotic nature to present its humor as naturally as possible.

    Now Holy Grail, on the other hand, is also a collection of jokes meshed into a film, but they tried to give it a structure, a backbone in the form a plot. Suddenly, it felt like the jokes don't belong where they are anymore. They looked crammed, uncomfortable. An encounter became an excuse for a joke to be made, and most of them fell flat anyway. So yeah, overall it took me out of the experience. But it's just me, of course, a lot of people would say otherwise.

  • ★★★★ review by Mr. DuLac on Letterboxd

    And finally, a wafer thin mint.

    -Maitre d'

    Even though the Pythons themselves would call this their lesser film it still comes pretty damn close to the quality of The Holy Grail and Life of Brian. It's obvious weakness in comparison is that there is no real narrative with The Meaning of Life simply being an excuse to string together the skits, but it's also a strength as the film goes in pretty much any damn direction it wants.

    Each sketch is loosely connected to a different stage of life and overall the tone of the film feels darker then the Phythons previous films somehow. Like your in the mind of a madman, or one of the Pythons. Obviously the closest film to Monty Python's Flying Circus, but on a much grander scale complete with musical numbers. Just how catchy is "Every Sperm is Scared"?

    The film isn't just funny because it's controversial or dark either. The material written is funny no doubt, written by comedic geniuses, but it's also the performance of these masters of surreal comedy that makes the film so damn amazingly hilarious. The comedic timing, deadpan delivery, sense of humor and overall chemistry of Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Michael Palin is something incredibly special that might only come along once in a lifetime. They are also sick and twisted bastards.

  • ★★★★½ review by Matt J. on Letterboxd

    Except for the opening sequence, which goes on about 15 minutes too long for my taste, this is a brilliant collection of loosely-connected sketches. I could list any number of scenes as my favorite, but for now I'd have to say my favorite is the sketch in which a man (Graham Chapman) is describing the virtues of Protestantism to his wife (Eric Idle), who slowly becomes increasingly more aroused throughout the scene.

    It's hard to believe this film is over 30 years old.

  • ★★★★★ review by laird on Letterboxd

    I guess I've reached an age where this is my favorite Monty Python movie. So absurd and satirical that, minus some musical numbers and animation, it could easily be mistaken for one of Luis Buñuel's surreal attacks on bourgeois social norms.

    "When Martin Luther nailed his protest up to the church door in 1517, he may not have realized the full significance of what he was doing. But four hundred years later, thanks to him, my dear, I can wear whatever I want on my John Thomas."

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