A melancholy, romantic adventure whose quirky heart beats to a recognizably human rhythm, John Patrick Shanley's "Joe Versus the Volcano" is a multi-faceted treat. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Shanley's film revolves around its sadsack protagonist, Joe, a man with a terminal illness who embarks on an odyssey at the end of his life. That odyssey gives his life, however close to its final notes, meaning, and, thanks to those he meets along the way, Joe is imbued with an ironic vigor. Shanley plays close attention to damaged human hearts and paints his production with whimsical emotional and aesthetic colors to temper the sadder undercurrents. It all results in a film where its actors put forth full-hearted performances, its director weds offbeat with the real, and its impact rings as resonant and memorable. The film is an unexpected and completely rewarding gem.