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George (Matt Damon) is a blue-collar American with a special connection to the afterlife dating from his childhood. French journalist Marie (Cécile de France) has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when London schoolboy Marcus (Frankie and George McLaren) loses the person closest to him, he desperately needs answers. Each seeking the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what they believe might – or must – exist in the hereafter.
Genre master Clint Eastwood tries something different with the languid, introspective Hereafter--and succeeds (for the most part). All of the characters at the heart of Peter Morgan's screenplay, which has the feel of a European art film, have suffered a loss or survived an ordeal. They feel disconnected from those who can't relate, which is most everybody. George Lonegan (Matt Damon, Invictus), a Bay Area factory worker, developed psychic powers after a childhood illness but just wants to lead a normal life, despite his brother Billy's efforts to turn him into a John Edwards-like celebrity (Jay Mohr plays Billy). Marie LeLay (the versatile Cécile De France), a TV reporter, emerges unharmed from 2004's Indian Ocean earthquake, only to find her Parisian existence slipping away from her (the tsunami sequence that opens the film is frightfully convincing). And in London, soft-spoken 12-year-old Marcus (Frankie McLaren) loses his twin, Jason (George McLaren), only to end up in foster care. While George reaches out to a lovely, if insecure woman (the overly jittery Bryce Dallas Howard) he meets in a cooking class, Marie writes a book about her experience, and Marcus seeks spiritual guidance. In a Babel-like turn of events, all three find themselves in the United Kingdom, where they cross paths, but what sounds contrived plays out in a surprisingly believable fashion. Eastwood and Morgan (The Queen) don't presume to know what happens after death, suggesting instead that those who search for answers deserve something other than disrespect and derision. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- Tsunami! Recreating a Disaster
- Hereafter's Locations - Casting the Silent Characters
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Eastwood is careful not to offer any answers on the afterlife in his film because as he says at one point there are no answers to offer. He tells a good story that forces the viewer to evaluate his own ideas on death and what if anything comes after it. The film is much more than a meditation on death it is a carefully drawn portrait of how death affects people no matter where they are located nor whatever is their place in society. One of the interesting things that Eastwood does and is to be congratulated for is that he chooses to present his French segments in French with subtitles rather than pandering to those who feel that everything must be in English this gives the film a feeling of reality.
The film is not always easy to watch but it does provide a good oppurtunity for discussion. The Blu Ray disc presents the film and a series of focus point videos dealing with the production. Of special interest is the video which deals with the creation of the tsunami effects for which the film got its only Oscar nomination. Other featurettes deal with skeptics and mediums and a short on twins. This is an excellent package for a film that gets better on repeat viewings by a director who seems to be contemplating his own mortality.
initial Tsunami scenes are captivating because of the power and devastation of the waves of water. But the story continues to
accelerate as we learn more about the "gift" Damon has, and why he considers it a curse.
I liked the music Eastwood selected for this film, and the clever way he uses it to highlight important scenes and moments in the film.
Like I said above, the film requires the viewer to stretch his/her imagination. Once that's done, sit back and enjoy a thoroughly entertaining film.
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What would you do if you had a window into the other side? The hereafter? How would it change you? Is this good?Read more