97 user 65 critic

The Discovery (2017)

TV-MA | | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi | 31 March 2017 (USA)
1:44 | Trailer
Two years after the afterlife is scientifically proven, a man attempts to help a young woman break away from her dark past.


Charlie McDowell
4,838 ( 8)





Credited cast:
Robert Redford ... Thomas
Mary Steenburgen ... Interviewer
Brian McCarthy ... Sound Recordist
Jason Segel ... Will
Rooney Mara ... Isla
Jesse Plemons ... Toby
Ron Canada ... Cooper
Riley Keough ... Lacey
Connor Ratliff ... Coroner
M.J. Karmi ... Janice (as MJ Karmi)
Kimleigh Smith ... Hospital Receptionist
Willie C. Carpenter ... Hospital Janitor (as Willie Carpenter)
Wendy Makkena ... Mom
Adam Khaykin Adam Khaykin ... Oliver (as Adam Morrison Khaykin)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lindsay Schnebly Lindsay Schnebly ... Newscaster


Writer-director Charlie McDowell returns to Sundance this year with a thriller about a scientist (played by Robert Redford) who uncovers scientific proof that there is indeed an afterlife. His son is portrayed by Jason Segel, who's not too sure about his father's "discovery", and Rooney Mara plays a mystery woman who has her own reasons for wanting to find out more about the afterlife. Written by Barry Brown, Park City, UT

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

31 March 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Descoberta See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Parts of it were filmed in Middletown, Rhode Island. See more »


Will rules out the possibility of the image retrieved from a corpse being a memory of the deceased person, on the grounds that it does not match the events that took place in real life. Science has discovered, however, that memory is in fact not an accurate record of what one perceives but rather a distorted and malleable one, and Will, being a neurologist, must have been aware of this. See more »


[first lines]
Interviewer: Dr. Harber, before we're live, I just wanted to say thank you for choosing me.
Thomas: [warming up his voice] Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Interviewer: The rich history you have with other journalists...
Thomas: I chose you precisely because we don't have a history. Now, don't fuck it up.
Producer: Fifteen seconds...
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Let's All Get Together
Written by Martie Echito
Performed by Martie Echito
Courtesy of Fervor Records
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User Reviews

Souls of the departed
2 April 2017 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

The Discovery is a slow burning but frustrating film. Deep down it really is a convoluted love story that borrows a little from sci-films such as Looper or Source Code.

Set in the not too distant future, Dr Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford) has discovered proof of the afterlife. When you die, your soul goes to another plane, wherever that is. This knowledge has led to a surge in suicides as people unhappy with their present life wish to move on elsewhere. The government actually keeps a running total of the suicides which is now over 4 million worldwide.

Dr Harbor's son, Will (Jason Segel) has hopped on to a ferry visiting his father's secluded estate, which is almost a cult like retreat. Dr Harbor is conducting further experiments but also guides people who in the past tried to kill themselves. Will's other brother Toby assists his father but it seems this is Will's first visit in a while. Ironically it was Will's childhood incident that actually lead to his father to research the afterlife.

On the ferry, Will meets a young woman named Isla (Rooney Mara). Isla looks familiar to him, but she icily puts him down with some wisecracks. Isla has her own reasons to visit the island, but realising who Will's father is, she spends more time with Will and helping in his father's research.

Redford plays an ambivalent scientist, shocked that his discovery has led to an upsurge in suicides, yet also at times playing like a cult leader, wanting people to open up their emotions. He is nearing a breakthrough as to where exactly the souls of the departed might be going to.

The central roles in the film belong to Segel and Mara. Although Will seems to be appalled by his father's discovery he goes on to play detective as to what his father's secret machine has actually recorded after death.

This is a low budget film, it does not overplay its sci-fi origins with elaborate special effects.

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