The Purpose of Life
The Purpose of Life Website Ministry
One of my favourite movies is Joe Versus The Volcano starring Tom Hanks
and Meg Ryan. I don't think that there are too many people out there who feel
the same way according to some reviews I've read - why, I don't know! It
always amazes me how human opinion about things, such as movies, can be so
diverse. I think it's great that we're not all the same, don't you, but sometimes
I'm totally stunned by what some people think are good movies or what some
people think are films that are total rubbish! It's funny that what to many is a
classic film, to others the response is "Nah! Load of rubbish!" Aaaaaah, the
great variety of human thought, feelings and opinions! Anyhow, back to the
Although 'Joe...' is a modern day 'fairy tale' kind-of-movie that is extremely
funny, it also has a serious side to it concerning the meaning of life, depending
on which way one looks at it. It contains so much truth it amazes me! And it's
so optimistic. And it also has romance - great for romantic's like myself!
It's basically about this ordinary guy, Joe Banks, who is very depressed and ill,
and works in a dismal environment under the watchful eye of Mr Waturi. When
he's told he has a 'brain cloud' and doesn't have long to live, he is given the
opportunity to travel via air and sea to a South Pacific island called Waponi
Woo, where he is to be the sacrifice for the people by jumping into the local
volcano. During the trip Joe discovers much about himself and life, and he also
falls in love with Patricia who takes him to the island. Eventually, after being
treated like a god by the locals, he does jump into the volcano, but I'm not
going to give away the ending!
There are many recurring images or symbols throughout the movie. The most prominent one is the jagged
symbol which is seen many times throughout the movie, though it's not always obvious. It is seen most
clearly as a path and a bolt of lightening. I view it as the sovereign hand of God in everything, even the
bad things - it all has a reason in the overall plan.
What stands out the most to me in the film is Joe's transformation. He begins quite selfishly, but he
becomes more loving and compassionate as his journey unfolds, and he also reflects on his life. Even the
way he treats the three women whom he meets is very interesting, and again love increases. By the way,
Meg Ryan plays all three women.
There are some great characters, which include Graynamore (played by Lloyd Bridges), Mr Waturi and the
Chief of the Waponis.
Here are some of my favourite Joe versus the Volcano quotes.
De-De: What's with the shoe?
Joe: I'm losing my soul
Dr Ellison to Joe: You have some time left
Mr Banks. You have some life left. My
advice to you is...live it well.
Joe: If you want to understand the universe,
embrace the universe... The door to the
universe is you.
Joe: Did I ever tell you that the first time that I
saw you, I felt like I'd seen you before.
Marshall: It's taken me all my life to find out
who I am and I'm tired now.
Joe: There are certain times in your life when I
guess you're not supposed to have anyone, you
know...certain doors you gotta go through
One night on the boat:
Patricia: All I want to do is sail away.
Joe: Where would you go?
Patricia: Away from the things of man.
Joe: Do you believe in God?
Patricia: I believe in myself.
Joe: What does that mean?
Patricia: I have confidence in myself.
Joe: I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately...asking myself some pretty tough
questions, and do you know what I found out? I have no interest in myself. When I start
thinking about myself, I get bored out of my mind.
Patricia: What does interest you?
Joe: I don't know...Courage..Courage interests me.
Patricia: My father says that almost the whole world is asleep...everybody you
know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few are
awake and they live in a state of constant, total amazement.
Joe, while stranded out at sea: Dear God...who's name I do not
know...Thank you for my life. I forgot how big...
Patricia: Nobody knows anything. We'll take this leap and we'll see.
We'll jump and we'll see. That's life.
Joe: I've been miserable for so long. Years of my life wasted. Been a
long time coming here to meet you. A long time on a crooked road.
Joe: I'm relieved...that's great...I'm saved!
Much more could be added, but it wouldn't make much sense unless seen in the context of the
movie. This movie also has some great songs and a beautiful soundtrack. Check it out sometime!
This scene reminds me of Joe's pessimism, not unlike my own at times. In light of a miracle
having occurred, Joe still believes that they're sunk! Patricia responds by saying wryly, "It's
always going to be something with you, isn't it Joe." I have to say, just like Joe, there are times
I can be very pessimistic and negative if I'm not careful. I think it's in my nature to be a little
dark! Nevertheless, there is hope!
Here's the theatrical trailer.