The Discovery (movie)

The Discovery is a 2017 British-American romantic science fiction film, directed by Charlie McDowell from a screenplay written by Justin Lader and Charlie McDowell. It stars Rooney Mara , Jason Segel , Robert Redford , Jesse Plemons , Riley Keough and Ron Canada .

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2017. It was released on March 31, 2017, by Netflix .


The film opens with an interview with Thomas Harbor (Redford), the man who scientifically proved the existence of an afterlife, which has led to an extremely high suicide rate. The interviewer (Steenburgen) asks Harbor if he feels responsible, to which he says no. Directly after, a member of the crew kills himself on air.

On the two year anniversary of the discovery, Harbor’s Will Will (Segel) Isla (Mara). Isla looks very familiar. He says he’s upset that people keep killing themselves, while Isla thinks it’s an easy way out. Will also share a memory he had while being dead for a minute, where he saw a young boy at a beach.

Will be picked up by his brother Toby (Plemons), who drives him to an isolated mansion where their father has built up his new station. Will score people working for him, and Toby says they all attempted suicide. They enter a room where Will meets Lacey (Keough) and Cooper (Canada), and sees his father tied up to a machine as they kill and revive him. Will blames him for the high suicide rate.

Later, Will sees Isla on the beach as she walks into the water with a backpack loaded down by a gym weight. He runs after, barely saving her. He brings her to the mansion, where she is taken in. At a later meeting with the occupants, Thomas reveals he invented a machine that can record what dead people see in the afterlife, which requires a dead person, and they steal the corpse of Pat Phillips from the morgue.

Will reveals to Isla that his mother killed herself when he was younger. The next day, they try to record the afterlife but nothing happens. After the failed attempt, Will enters the room alone and puts back a piece of wiring he takes out of the machine, which then shows a sequence of a man driving to a hospital, visiting someone and fighting with a woman there. Will finds the hospital from the recordings and visits it, but finds the hallway of the video is gone after remodeling a decade prior.

Later, during a meeting, Thomas brings Lacey on stage and confronts her about telling other people in the mansion about the failed device and tells her to leave immediately. Will drives Isla to the hospital and shows her the recordings and memory of the afterlife. After breaking into the hospital, they get a file from Pat Phillips’ father, who died in the hospital.

Isla finds out that the man in the recording has a different tattoo from the one she saw on Pat earlier. Will drives her to the beach, where she reveals to him that she had a sound and that he died while she was asleep. Later they seek out the woman from the video, revealed to be Pat’s sister. She tells them that Pat is her husband and father.

Isla and Will grow closer together and share a kiss, which is interrupted by Toby. Together they rush to Thomas, who is hooked up on the machine and dead. They observe that he is seeing the night their mother killed herself, except that Thomas stops her. They are able to revive Thomas, who concludes that the afterlife is an alternate version of their existing life, only with different choices made. They agree to destroy the machine, as this revelation would provoke millions of suicides by people wanting to improve the lives they have. Thomas prepares to hold a speech, which is interrupted by Lacey shooting Isla, who claims she just “relocated” her. Isla dies in Will’s arms.

Later, a devastated Will hooks himself up with the machine. He arrives back on the ferry, where he meets Isla again, who states that this is a memory. It is revealed that Will is living in a memory loop trying to prevent Isla’s death and that he restarts on the ferry every time. Isla says that he will be saved her and that they will move on now. Although Toby and Thomas try to revive Will, he dies, promising Isla to remember her.

Will go on the beach, where he sees a little boy and gets him out of the water. His mother, Isla, arrives and thanks Will. They do not recognize each other. After she leaves, he walks away, but starting to recall that Isla is, he slowly stops and looks back.


  • Rooney Mara as Isla
  • Jason Segel as Will Harbor
  • Jesse Plemons as Toby Harbor
  • Riley Keough as Lacey
  • Robert Redford as Thomas Harbor
  • Ron Canada as Cooper
  • Mary Steenburgen as Interviewer


In October 2015, it was revealed that Rooney Mara and Nicholas Hoult had been cast in the film, with Charlie McDowell directing from the script, co-written with Justin Lader, and Alex Orlovsky and James D. Stern producing under their Verisimilitude and Endgame Entertainment Banners, respectively. [1] In March 2016, it was revealed that Robert Redford and Jason Segel had joined the cast of the film, with Segel replacing Hoult who had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. [2] That same month, Riley Keough and Jesse Plemons joined the cast. [3] Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans composed the film’s score.

Principal photography began on March 28, 2016, in Newport, Rhode Island . [5] [6] Production concluded on May 1, 2016. [7] [8]


In June 2016, Netflix acquired global distribution rights to the film, with a planned 2017 release. [9] The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2017. [10] The film was released on March 31, 2017. [11]

Critical reception

The Discovery received from film critics. It holds a 43% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes , based reviews is 49, with a weighted average of 5.5 / 10. [12] On Metacritic , the film holds a rating of 55 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”. [13]

Dennis Harvey of Variety Gives the Film a Negative Review, Saying “Though The Discovery Starts With A Great Premise, Its Mystery Dissipates Over a Somewhat Tepid Course as the Concept The chemistry between Segel and Mara. [14]


  1. Jump up^ McNary, Dave (October 27, 2015). “Nicholas Hoult, Rooney Mara Starring in Romance ‘The Discovery'” . Variety . Retrieved April 1, 2016 .
  2. Jump up^ Busch, Anita (March 9, 2016). “Robert Redford & Jason Segel Join Rooney Mara In ‘The Discovery'” . . Retrieved April 1, 2016 .
  3. Jump up^ Siegel, Tatiana; Kit, Borys (March 10, 2016). “Riley Keough Joins Robert Redford in Sci-Fi Drama ‘The Discovery’ (Exclusive)” . The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved April 1, 2016 .
  4. Jump up^ “Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans to Score Charlie McDowell’s ‘The Discovery ‘ ” . Movie Music Reporter . September 1, 2016 . Retrieved September 4, 2016 .
  5. Jump up^ SSN Insider Staff (April 1, 2016). “On the Set for 4/1/16: Mark Wahlberg & JK Simmons Start Shooting ‘Patriots Day’, Elizabeth Banks Wraps on ‘Most Hated Woman in America'” . . Retrieved April 1, 2016 .
  6. Jump up^ Coelho, Jamie (March 24, 2016). “Jason Segel and Stars Film The Discovery in Newport” . . Retrieved April 1,2016 .
  7. Jump up^ McDowell, Charlie (May 1, 2016). “That’s A Wrap on #TheDiscovery” . Twitter . Retrieved May 3, 2016 .
  8. Jump up^ Insider Staff, SSN (May 6, 2016). “On the Set for 5/6/16: Egerton Starts ‘Kingsman’ Sequel, Hugh Jackman Begins on ‘Wolverine 3’, Rooney Mara & Robert Redford Finish ‘The Discovery'” . SSN Insider . Retrieved June 20, 2016 .
  9. Jump up^ Jafaar, Ali (June 13, 2016). “Netflix Acquires The World On ‘The Discovery’ With Rooney Mara, Robert Redford And Jason Segel” . . Retrieved June 13, 2016 .
  10. Jump up^ Patten, Dominic (December 5, 2016). “Sundance 2017: Robert Redford, New Rashida Jones Netflix Series, ‘Rebel In The Rye’ & More On Premiere, Docu, Midnight & Kids Slates . Retrieved December 5, 2016 .
  11. Jump up^ Jagernauth, Kevin (January 18, 2017). “Jason Segel & Rooney Mara Make ‘The Discovery’ In First Trailer for Netflix’s Sci-Fi Movie” . The Playlist . Retrieved January 18, 2017 .
  12. Jump up^ Rotten Tomatoes Staff (April 4, 2017). “The Discovery (2017)”. Retrieved April 12, 2017 .
  13. Jump up^ “The Discovery” . . Retrieved April 12, 2017 .
  14. Jump up^ Harvey, Dennis (January 17, 2017). “Sundance Film Review: ‘The Discovery ‘ ” . Retrieved January 23, 2017 .

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