Review: Joe Versus The Volcano

By | Exclusives, Reviews

Joe Versus The Volcano opened on March 9, 1990. The comedy starred Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan. It was written and directed by John Patrick Shanley.


Joe is a hypochondriac who is unsatisfied with his life. When he learns he has a terminal illness, Joe is offered the chance to sacrifice himself into a volcano. Joe accepts and goes on an adventure that makes him rethink everything.


  • This is the first film Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan co-starred in. They would later appear in Sleepless In Seattle and You’ve Got Mail together. Their chemistry is definitely the best part of the film.


  • Joe Versus The Volcano features a unique tone and style of comedy. The quirkiness of the film makes it original.


  • The screenplay and direction from Shanley are all well done. The film feels like a fairy tale – which is the goal.


  • Joe Versus The Volcano drags in moments. At times the story and flow stalls


  • Meg Ryan plays three different characters in the film. Ryan is excellent in the film, but the reasoning behind her playing multiple roles is never really clear. The choice is a bit distracting, but it doesn’t hurt the film in a significant way.

In Closing:

Joe Versus The Volcano is the most underrated film in the Amblin library. It features two great performances from its stars and a unique story and tone. Joe Versus The Volcano is one of the best films to come from Amblin Entertainment.

Rating: B+