- User Rating: Excellent
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Thought-provoking acting and script, with capable direction
Cons:The afterlife itself really isn't different from other accounts
The Bottom Line: Does anyone really have a guarantee of eternal life?
What happens when we die? Nobody knows for sure. Hereafter, though, takes a look at three people who sense a connection with the Great Beyond.
Matt Damon stars as George Lonegan, a San Farncisco warehouse worker who once made a living helping people connect with the dead. In spite of pleas from his businessman brother, Billy (Jay Mohr), George refuses to return to work for which George appears to have a gift. He wants to focus on living.
Meanwhile, two people a continent away have problems putting their death experiences behind them. French television journalist Marie Lelay (Cecile de France) nearly drowns while on holiday in Asia. She takes a leave of absence from her book to write a political book, but finds she's writing more about her incident than politics. In London, twins Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren) are separated by death when Jason is accidentally killed running an errand for his substance-dependent mother. With her problems and without Jason to help him cover her, Marcus is placed in foster care. He misbehaves and seeks out help contacting Jason. When George has bad fortune with his job and a relationship, he heads to London, where he meets Marie and Marcus at a book fair.
Even though his resume is connected primarily with westerns and police thrillers, director Clint Eastwood should also be remembered for thoughtful films such as Hereafter. Hereafter looks at the possibility of life after death without being religious or preachy. His film states that people will know some things to be true without proof, or the ability to present proof. George, Marie, and Marcus have have different death encounters that change them. Each wants to get back to a life that is normal. Eastwood has the benefit of a literate, thought-provoking script from Peter Morgan, whose screenwriting credits include The Queen and Frost/Nixon. Eastwood and Morgan's depiction of the afterlife isn't different from other interpretations, but they create a compelling mix of sorrow and wonder with their main characters as they deal with their feelings.
Damon gives a quietly effective performance as George, who feels the calls from the afterlife, but wishing he could make those calls go away. People don't understand how his touch with people affects him. He finds solace in the works of Dickens because the words allow him to live, albeit vicariously. I also like de France and the McLarens as people coming to grips with their experiences. Mohr is good as a brother who tries to compel George to make his ability a business again. The voice reading Dickens is Derek Jacobi, who makes a cameo appearance doing the same at the book fair.
Nobody in modern history has died, then told us what awaits on the other side. Many believe another life awaits after our earthly stay, while others contend this existence is all we get for eternity. Hereafter acknowledges both sides, and realizes each person sees the debate uniquely. Even George, Marie, and Marcus come to their beliefs in different ways. They have been touched by those from another realm, and it is a touch that will always stay with them.
LNM IX: http://www.epinions.com/content_5472034948
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Movie Mood: Serious Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing