Nine Days (film)

Nine Days is a 2020 supernatural drama film written and directed by Edson Oda. It stars Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale, and Bill Skarsgård. Spike Jonze serves as an executive producer.[3] In the film, a man interviews five unborn souls to determine which one can be given life on Earth.

Nine Days
Nine Days poster.jpg
Official release poster
Directed byEdson Oda
Produced by
Written byEdson Oda
Music byAntonio Pinto
CinematographyWyatt Garfield
Edited by
  • Juniper Productions
  • Mandalay Pictures
  • Nowhere
  • The Space Program
  • Mansa Productions
  • Oak Street Pictures
  • 30West
  • Baked Studios
  • Datari Turner Productions
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release date
  • January 27, 2020 (2020-01-27) (Sundance)
  • July 30, 2021 (2021-07-30) (United States)
Running time
124 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million[2]

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2020. It is scheduled to be released on July 30, 2021, by Sony Pictures Classics.


Will is an arbiter who judges souls before they inhabit bodies in the living. He lives in an isolated house in the middle of a desert scape, interviewing candidate souls for the opportunity to be born; if they are not selected, Will gives them a parting memory before their existence is erased. His only company is Kyo, a soul who did not disappear, and has since assisted in Will's interviews. Will spends his days watching and taking notes on a multitude of television screens, each displaying the life of a different individual that Will has previously selected. His favorite is Amanda, a 28-year-old violin prodigy. However, on her way to a large concierto, Amanda drives too fast on the highway and crashes into an overpass, killing her.

As Will grapples with Amanda's death, candidates begin arriving to interview for the vacancy Amanda left behind - a process that will take nine days. He asks the candidates simple questions about life and has them take notes on what they like or dislike about the lives of others who were chosen. Will is particularly intrigued by Emma, who displays heightened empathy and curiosity despite showing little interest in the selection process. Over the course of the nine days, most of the candidates are dismissed for various reasons, such as self-consciousness and lack of respect for suffering. Will does his best to recreate life events for the failed candidates, such as walking on the beach or bike-riding through a city, before the candidates disappear forever.

Kyo invites another nearby interviewer to meet with Will, as she had previously selected Amanda's cousin for birth. She shows Will a tape shortly after Amanda's death, which reveals that Amanda left behind a suicide note before her crash. Kyo attempts to help Will get over her death, but Will continues to watch tapes from her life, unable to understand why she did it. Will has told Emma that he cannot tell her anything about his previous life, but in response to her showing concern for him, he now indicates that in his previous life he once gave a theater performance that made him feel alive, but never pursued his passion after that. He reacts angrily when another candidate, Alex, points out Will's hypocrisy for judging people's lives when he never did anything meaningful with his own life.

The candidates are narrowed down to two: Emma and Kane. While Emma is carefree and sees the best in people, Kane is more pessimistic, recognizing the evil in the world and showing resolve to fight back against it. Despite Kyo recommending that Will picks Emma, he chooses Kane to be born. When Will offers Emma a last experience, she writes something down which Will says he can't do. Emma then declines a last experience and opts to walk across the desert until she disappears. Will later finds a note from Emma where she thanks him and explains she wrote happy memories she had during the interview process; Will finds them written all over the house. Feeling regret, he runs across the desert after Emma and passionately recites selections from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, then thanks her.



It was announced in June 2019 that acclaimed commercial director Edson Oda would be making his feature directorial debut, with Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgård and Benedict Wong set to star.[4] In August, Tony Hale was added to the cast.[5]

Filming began in July in Utah.[6][7]


The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2020.[8] Shortly after, Sony Pictures Classics acquired distribution rights to the film.[9] It was previously scheduled for January 22, 2021, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[10] It is scheduled to be released in a limited release on July 30, 2021, prior to a wide release on August 6, 2021.[11]


Nine Days received positive reviews from film critics. It holds an 86% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 28 reviews, with a weighted average of 7/10. The critical consensus reads, "A knockout feature directorial debut from Edson Oda, Nine Days is an ethereal and evocative film about the meaning of life – elevated by a phenomenal performance from Winston Duke."[12] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 78 out of 100, based on seven critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13]

Edson Oda received the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for the film at Sundance.[14]


  1. ^ "Nine Days". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  2. ^
  3. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 12, 2020). "Spike Jonze Boards Sony Pictures Classics' 'Nine Days' As EP; Pic Eyes Early 2021 Release". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  4. ^ Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgård Atop Hot Pic Package ‘Nine Days’; Edson Oda Directing
  5. ^ ‘Veep’ Star Tony Hale Joins Winston Duke & Bill Skarsgård In ‘Nine Days’ Film
  6. ^ Join Winston Duke in the Afterlife in ‘Nine Days’
  7. ^ Four New Productions Approved to Film in Utah
  8. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (December 4, 2019). "Sundance Unveils Female-Powered Lineup Featuring Taylor Swift, Gloria Steinem, Abortion Road Trip Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  9. ^ Ford, Rebecca (February 21, 2020). "Winston Duke Starrer 'Nine Days' Lands at Sony Pictures Classics (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Anderson, Erik (December 3, 2020). "Sony Classics Shifts 'Nine Days' Release Date, Will Still Qualify For Spirit Awards". AwardsWatch. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  11. ^ Grobar, Matt (May 6, 2021). "Sony Pictures Classics Sets July Release Date For Edson Oda's 'Nine Days'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  12. ^ "Nine Days (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  13. ^ "Nine Days Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  14. ^ "2020 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS ANNOUNCED". Sundance Film Festival. February 1, 2020. Retrieved February 24, 2020.

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