“Hereafter” Movie Review

Tackling a movie about the afterlife is not a joyous (or easy) subject matter, but it is one we are thoroughly intrigued with; when we die, is it really just…over?

In the film “Hereafter,” Clint Eastwood takes us on a journey to the unknown through the eyes of three people whose lives intersect by way of death. But, quite in contrast to Eastwood’s movies which are usually characterized by manly vigor, this somber film shows us another side of the award winning director – one where subtle acting takes over – which, in my view, isn’t quite the victorious piece of work we’d expect from the “Invictus” director.


The movie first introduces us to Mary Lalei (Cecile De France), a successful French journalist when she is violently picked up by a tsunami which levels the coastal resort where she is vacationing. As her lifeless body is carried by the violent flow, we’re pulled into her dream-like state envisioning death as a white light with indistinguishable figures floating about in a cloud-like background. A few minutes later, the young woman is fished out and revived, but the heavenly image is seared in her mind leading her on a quest to figure out what this mental picture is all about.

Suddenly, we’re then transported to London where twin boys, Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren), are dealing with an alcoholic and drug-addicted mother. One of the boys is hit by a car while talking to his brother on the cell phone, and hears the entire accident take place. This traumatic event focuses the surviving lad’s dismal existence on trying to communicate with his deceased brother.

Enter George Lonegan (Matt Damon), a psychic-turned-factory-worker who is looking to lead a normal life in San Francisco after the use of his psychic gift leaves him drained of emotion and unable to maintain any normal relationships. The abject psychic is capable of making an instant connection with the deceased by simply brushing his hands against their living loved ones. This haunting disconnect takes place during a short-lived flirtatious encounter with a fellow student (Bryce-Dallas Howard) at a cooking class until they accidently touch, and the eerie images overcome him.  Going against his better judgment, George allows her morbid curiosity to engage him in a séance which ends with an embarrassing revelation about her past.

After investing more than half the movie run time in each of these characters, we stick it out until they all finally converge in a predictable solution to their problems — and a sappy but happy ending — which is quite abrupt, I might add (like this sentence).  

“Hereafter” is not where I thought a Clint Eastwood film would make me want to go after sitting through 129 minutes of an excruciatingly predictable plot. (The movie’s sepia-like lighting doesn’t make me feel too alive either) Disappointingly, the first hour and 30 minutes is taken up with a lackluster character development which has us jumping back and forth from Europe to the US and back slower than a trans-Atlantic cargo ship.

Unfortunately, Eastwood’s way of weaving the lives of three people who’ve had a brush with death takes its sweet time, and herein is the reason I can’t reconcile the superb, subtle acting by Matt Damon with the spoon-fed character development of the rest of the cast. However, this actor’s performance is one of the few redeeming qualities I found in this movie that might make me tell you it’s worth your money (I said might!), but only if you’re a Matt Damon fan.

I'd pay $7 out of $10 bucks to see this movie. (Do you like my new rating system? Goes right to your pocket!)

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