Based on a metaphysical 1978 novel by science fiction and horror author Richard Matheson, this romantic fantasy-drama won an Oscar for its expensive and impressive visual vistas depicting an imaginative afterlife. Robin Williams stars as Chris Nielsen, a doctor who has suffered with his artist wife Annie (Annabella Sciorra) through the devastating loss of their children, Marie and Ian, who were killed in a car accident. Although Annie's all-consuming depression nearly destroyed their marriage, the couple rebuilt their relationship and are now living out a comfortable middle age. Stopping one night to help a motorist in a wreck, Chris is struck by a car and killed. At first confused about where he is, Chris meets Albert (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a spiritual guide who helps him to realize he's passed away and that he must move on to the next world. After trying with only limited success to communicate with the devastated Annie, Chris moves on and discovers an afterlife that can become whatever one envisions, where even his pet dog awaits him. What Chris envisions as paradise are the paintings of his wife, and he happily takes up residence there, awaiting the far-off day when Annie will eventually join him. He also meets his children, although they have chosen different appearances than the ones they had in life. Then tragedy strikes when Annie, inconsolable, commits suicide and goes to Hell. Although it is rarely done, Chris insists on traveling there, risking his eternal soul to save the woman he loves. Accompanied part of the way by Albert and a wizened guide called The Tracker (Max von Sydow), Chris finally reaches Annie in Hell, and must convince her of the truth in order to release her from her dark prison.
by Karl Williams synopsis