Updated: Feb 18, 2021
As with all movies on this website, our goal is not to provide a complete synopsis of the film, but rather to document how the movie relates to the meaning of life. With that said, be forewarned, there are still spoilers ahead.
$9.99 was a "stop-motion animated story about people living in a Sydney apartment complex looking for meaning in their lives.", released in 2008. The movie was written and directed by Tatia Rosenthal, and Etgar Keret co-wrote the screenplay.
The film opens with a scene involving a homeless man who lost his wife and a working man (Jim) trying to catch a taxi. The homeless person, gun in hand, asks Jim for a cigarette and money for coffee. Not getting what he wants, the homeless person kills himself. This sets Jim on a downward spiral into increasing despair and reflection on life.
Jim's son, Lenny, is unemployed and spends the last bit of his money on a book about the meaning of life that he found in a catalogue. He was intrigued after reading the lines: Have you ever wondered what is the meaning of life? Why do we exist? Upon receiving the book, he does nothing but delve into it — discovering not one, but six meanings to life. But what are those six meanings to life? Well, the film doesn't explicitly share, but it does so indirectly as follows:
1) One person removes all of his hair, and all of his bones (yes, all of his bones) to become a sack of skin — in the name of love, of course.
2) Jim and Lenny get a book on how to swim like a dolphin and do so in the local pond.
3) An old man who hasn't left the neighborhood in 41 years since his wife's death goes on vacation after murdering an angel.
4) A little boy who dreams of playing soccer, saves his piggy bank (which became an imaginary friend), rather than breaking it open to buy soccer related memorabilia.
5) A teacher going through a breakup reflects on and appreciates the art of her children. Her boyfriend also reflects on the breakup and is seen looking at a sign saying, Think first. 'Cause life doesn't give you a second chance.
6) The homeless man becomes a grumpy angel who never made it to heaven. He has wings, but they are useless, because he cannot fly. But his death does impact each of the characters in some way. So even in death, actions reverberate throughout the community in unexpected ways.
Overall, the movie wasn't all that impressive. Besides currently having a 6.8 user rating on IMDB, a 68 on Metacritic, and a 73% on the Tomatometer, it wasn't very interesting. It was very unique, but not interesting. Perhaps it was just because the humor didn't resonate with me, or perhaps it is because I didn't get the underlying meanings, or appreciate the graphic claymation sex scenes. In addition, outside of the normal reflection on life after loss and the mention of a book on the meaning of life, it doesn't address the topic of meaning. Whatever the case, below is the endev42 rating.
Overall - 3
Meaning of Life Relevance - 2
Uniqueness – 10
Did you see the movie? What did you think?