This was certainly… interesting.
The Discovery deals with themes of death and the afterlife. It asks the question: How would people react to confirmation that the afterlife exists?
The film is centred on the different responses of the characters to the existence of the afterlife. Isla, played by Rooney Mara, seems to take comfort in it, as it seems to help her deal with the death of her son. The protagonist, Will, played by Jason Segel, keeps questioning the discovery, running away from it in a way. The contrast between the two perspectives, and their quest to find the complete truth about the afterlife is what drives the plot forward.
I have mixed feelings about this film. On the one hand, the first and second acts are quite successful in keeping you interested in the mystery, as well as finding out more about the characters’ backstories and how they inform their stance. Where the film falls flat for me, however, is the ending.
To put it simply, I do not understand how it links to the themes of the film, and from what I do understand, it sends a pretty weird message. It is revealed that the protagonist (or possibly everyone?) is in a time loop, whereupon every time he dies, he is sent back to the time of one of his greatest regrets, giving him a chance to go down a different path. This choice makes the mass of suicides that keeps being mentioned in the film appear entirely justified; wouldn't you want to take a chance to fix your greatest regrets? Ending on this note feels like it completely separates the film from reality and detracts from anything interesting the film had to say about suicide
While overall an interesting film that stayed with me for a while after watching, I do have my issues with it. I suggest watching it if the premise intrigues you. You will certainly have something to think about by the end.