Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience - giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife.
The Lazarys Effect follows a group of researchers led by Frank and his fiancé Zoe who've achieved the unimaginable - bringing the dead back to life. After a successful, yet unsanctioned, trial on a newly deceased animal, the team is ready to unveil their breakthrough to the world. When the dean of their university learns of their underground experiments, their project is unexpectedly shut down and their materials confiscated.
Dr. Ian Gray (Michael Pitt), a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye, finds his work permeating his life after a brief encounter with an exotic young woman (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) who slips away from him. As his research continues years later with his lab partner Karen (Brit Marling), they make a stunning scientific discovery that has far reaching implications and complicates both his scientific and spiritual beliefs. Traveling half way around the world, he risks everything he has ever known to validate his theory.
Actors (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent) take on multiple roles in an epic that spans five centuries. An attorney harbors a fleeing slave on a voyage from the Pacific Islands in 1849; a poor composer in pre-World War II Britain struggles to finish his magnum opus before a past act catches up with him; a genetically engineered worker in 2144 feels the forbidden stirring of human consciousness -- and so on. As souls are born and reborn, they renew their bonds to one another throughout time.