Hereafter Movie Review

Eastwood's skilfully unrushed direction merges with Morgan's astute, thoughtful screenplay to create a thoroughly unusual film that holds our interest with a provocative, beautifully played exploration of mortality.

George (Damon) has a gift: he can see into the afterlife and help people communicate with their lost loved ones. But he feels it's more like a curse.

Meanwhile in Paris, star journalist Marie (De France) has just recovered from a near-death experience. Instead of working on her planned biography of Mitterand, she instead starts investigating why accounts of after-death experiences are so shunned. And in London, pre-teen Marcus is looking for ways to communicate with recently deceased twin (they're played by Frankie and George McLaren).

This is a remarkable shift in tone for both Eastwood and Morgan, as the film remains grippingly introspective from the start. Events in the script echo real life stories (a devastating tsunami, a London Underground bombing), but the focus is on unknowable mysteries. And while there's plenty of scope for wrenching emotion, the film is surprisingly neither maudlin nor sentimental.

Which shouldn't be a surprise, since sentimentality has never been part of either Eastwood's or Morgan's repertoire.

As a result, the film effortlessly holds our attention, even though the three central characters tend to wander around in a daze most of the time. But we are thinking right along with them, which shows how powerful the acting, writing and directing really are. And when there's a scene of lively interaction, we feel it on a whole different level - Damon with Howard as a fellow cooking class student or with Mohr as his pushy brother, De France with Neuvic as her married colleague and lover, the McLarens with Marshal as their alcoholic mother.

In other words, despite some slightly overwrought plotting, the film somehow manages to entertain us on an almost existential level. It not only holds our interest, but moves us powerfully in a couple of key scenes. And as the three plot strands quietly (and slightly suddenly) merge, we somehow believe it because it's so well-grounded in our own human experience. We all know what it's like to hope for something that defies logic.

Comments

Hereafter Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: 12, 2011

Advertisement

More Matt Damon

Interstellar Trailer

Cooper is a pilot and engineer with a huge ambition to save the world. With little discoveries left to be made on Earth and the...

What Do We Know About Christopher Nolan's Interstellar?

Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey made a surprise visit to the San Diego Comic-Con last week to unveil the full trailer for their new movie,...

Franchise King Dwayne Johnson In Talks To Star In Robert Ludlum Adaptation For Universal

Dwayne Johnson might have a new creative endeavor lined up, as the former WWE champ and current actor is in talks to star in the...

Interstellar Trailer

With the Earth facing a bleak future, pilot and engineer Cooper wants to know how it can possibly be saved from its inevitable demise. The...

Advertisement

Matt Damon Open To More 'Bourne' Movies: Will He Team Up With Jeremy Renner?

Matt Damon has revealed that not only would he be happy to reprise his career-defining role of Jason Bourne in the butt-kicking, Bond-esque blockbusters but...

HBO To Revive 'Project Greenlight' With Matt Damon And Ben Affleck Returning

Project Greenlight is to be revived for another series with original stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon at the helm. The reality TV series saw...

Johnny Depp Promotes 'Transcendence', But Attention Turns to 'Black Mass'

Johnny Depp has begun his promotional tour for his new science fiction thriller Transcendance, which opens on April 18. However, journalists appear to be more...

50 Cent And Bette Midler? Our Favorite Celebrity BFFs

Unlike Jennifer Lawrence and her rather normal best friend, Laura Simpson, celebs often pick other famous people to have as their BFFs. They all probably...

Advertisement