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In the 1988 apocalyptic thriller, Miracle Mile, the movie opens with Harry playing the trombone

with a picture of Julie, whom he meets later in the film, implying that the trombone-playing is afterward. But of course, the movie ends with their apparent death...

Here's what he says in that scene:

I never really saw the big picture before today - love can sure spin your head around. God, where do you begin?

Clearly, he's recounting the tale. Can anyone explain this apparent contradiction?

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It's just for narrative reasons, there's no in-plot explanation for it.

TV-tropes calls this: Posthumous Narration

Miracle Mile is a well-designed heart-warming tale of nuclear annihilation told from a personal perspective. Much of the story is trying to realistically portray the chaos and horror of impending nuclear annihilation, similar to The Day After, with tinges of romance and comedy thrown in.

In a small number of noir-ish stories, the stories are narrated from the perspective of people who are already dead without any explanation of how they are able to narrate. Miracle Mile isn't the first film to use this plot/narration device.

Here's a list on Wikipedia of Fiction narrated by a dead person

American Beauty, for instance, is a more recent film that uses this device.

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  • I would agree, certainly, if not for one thing - the opening scene. There are plenty of movies that have the narrator TALKING over the movie, but none of those examples, as far as I can tell, actually show the narrator alive apparently out of sequence. Jan 5, 2012 at 0:20
  • It's just an extension of the Posthumous Narration, we have to assume that the trombone-playing takes place at the start or before the beginning of the events in the movie. Because the movie takes place in real-time, there wouldn't have been an opportunity for the main character to play the trombone during that time. I can't really see another possible explanation for the trombone scenes. Jan 5, 2012 at 16:09
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In the start of the film, he's dead, and in the afterlife. Julie didn't make it because she didn't believe she could. "Diamonds? Us, Harry?"

So all he has is her picture.

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