A surprise hit ... Eastwood at his finest. (by KateBeth)
The viewer doesn't know quite what to expect when sitting down to watch "Hereafter". I went in thinking it would be something a bit spooky, or mind-bending like "Inception". What I experienced was even more fascinating - and thought provoking - leading me to ask more questions than I would have answers."Hereafter" presents you with fascinating characters - literally from the first few minutes of the film, you find yourself both riveted and squirming to look away. Scenes from a vicious tsunami that takes the lives of hundreds of thousands leaves the viewer <more>
feeling shocked and empty -- but what follows in the aftermath is what is truly astounding.The acting in this movie is absolutely superb. From Matt Damon's portrayal of George - a man who has abandoned his psychic gift or what he considers to be a curse for a more simple and obscure life as a factory worker... to Cecile De France's talented portrayal of Marie, a French journalist who experiences a tragedy of such enormity you wonder how she will ever get back to living a 'normal' life... to young George and Frankie McLaren's work as the adorable Marcus and Jason - British twins who must contend with their mother's drug abuse and, later, a tragedy that will tear them apart - the viewer is left to feel as if they are literally part of the story. You rally for the characters - and yearn to see how their fate will unfold. The intersection of all of their lives is what is so fascinating.While I went into "Hereafter" expecting something a bit obscure and mind-bending, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this film is a drama that delves into not only the topic of life after death - but life itself. Clint Eastwood does an amazing job at giving us a look into the peace and mystery that awaits us on the other side... but also the joy and beauty of what is right in front of us."Hereafter" was a pleasant surprise. While some questions remain at the end of the film, I feel it is a perfect ending to a film about a topic as mysterious as life after death. At one point in the film, Thierry Neuvic's character, Didier, makes the comment that if there were life after death, it would have been proved by now. By the end of the film, you realize that the most wonderful and amazing events in life cannot necessarily be proved - but with enough faith and through fate - everything lines up exactly as it should.
Here is a Film Before its Time... (by MyNeighborFanboy)
For some bizarre reason, marketers opted to make Clint Eastwood's latest work look like a rejected script to an M. Night Syamalon movie in its trailers. What with its catastrophic events and plot centric imagery, you'd think Eastwood had made a disaster movie rather than what the reality turns out to be. This is a much more thoughtful film about death that examines how living characters deal with the aftereffects. Matt Damon's character, Lonegan, is not a protagonist but one character in a larger ensemble piece. Naturally, it benefits marketing to try to isolate this certain <more>
aspect of the plot to make this look like a thriller, but it is a impressionist character piece by all means. Even the psychic aspect is played down, and never truly explained.What that reality turns out to be is something akin to one of the time centric French minimalists like Chantal Akerman and Jacques Rivette. While it never of course becomes a four hour movie about household chores like Jeanne Dielman, it nevertheless is one of the most jarringly French art-house-like films to ever be released as a mainstream American film. Eastwood's decision to leave Peter Morgan's script as a rough first draft is likely part of what's drawing criticism, but this is arguably what makes it so effective as well. Narrative coherence is spurned in favor of genuine CINEMA, people behaving on-screen and showing the effects of great turmoil in every little nuance. Eastwood, known for stripping down rewrites to maintain a certain spontaneous quality in his films and for shooting very few takes saw something in this script that he knew wouldn't make it to the final draft. This is how it maintains such a minimal quality.Of course, such methodology is in tune with French filmmakers like Bresson, a filmmaker who would likely be criticized today for his deadpan performances when what he's really doing is drawing attention to actions rather than performances. Eastwood puts a lot of stock in gesture: hands in particular. Hands are prominently shown whenever a character embraces, and they are also the method through which Lonegan is able to make contact with the afterlife. He tries to make connections through a cooking class, in which he must make use of his hands and which inevitably leads him to touch the hands of others when he wants least to . There's also a generous use of exteriors, with the running theme of loneliness in crowded locations which anybody whose experienced such trauma or even lesser traumas can relate to. It sounds like Eastwood is employing the dreaded preference of "things" to "people," but in reality this is a perfect melding of characters to their environment.None of this is the kind of post-Elia Kazan acting our country is used to, but each of the actors do a remarkable job in communicating in this way. Damon gives the finest performance of his career, and each of the supporting cast is remarkable as well in the way they REACT, rather than act. A jarring change for the star of Gran Torino, perhaps, but one which works for the material.And that, I think, is why such mixed reactions come out of those who view this film. Eastwood is not making a heightened film about death, but an understated despite its moments of sensationalism, which serve as counterpoint exploration of how people deal with death. What makes it even more difficult is that, despite an optimistic conclusion, no definite resolution is ever reached. We never learn the nature behind Lonegan's abilities, we only get hints at how it may have come about. No religious agenda is preached, nor is religion rejected. Such open ended filmmaking is vastly beyond even limited releases, and is usually the kind of stuff found on the Criterion Collection decades after its completion. To have a release like this is astounding, but has likely doomed the film financially.That would be a shame. In a year that has produced solid work ranging from Sorkin and Fincher's The Social Network, Martin Scorsese's woefully underrated Shutter Island, and the hype-driven juggernaut that was Inception, I think Hereafter ranks among the very best of the year. I would even go so far as to call it the first bonafide masterpiece of the decade. I suspect this places me at odds with many people, some of whom have tried to logically argue with me why this was an incompetent film to them, I would explain that film is not meant to be dictated by plot logic, the most superficial aspect of filmmaking at best but as this film goes to show, some things just can't be easily explained away.
Clint Eastwood has once again proved himself to be a formidable director. The style and structure of storytelling used in Hereafter will not appeal to a large audience, but something tells me he knew this all too well but honestly, didn't care and rightfully so. Because let's face it, he can afford it and it's certainly a privilege he has earned. And with Hereafter, it seems that all Mr. Eastwood wants to do is share a story. A very beautiful one at that.Hereafter is divided into three story lines, spread over three different countries. We have Matt Damon as a reluctant psychic in <more>
the United States, Cécile De France who plays a journalist in France and a young pair of twin brothers Frankie and George McLaren in England. All of these peoples' lives are in one way or another affected by different aspects of death, whether that be a near-death experience or the passing of someone very dear. Or, in Damons case, the ability to establish a certain connection with those who are no longer with us. Eastwood has decided on a particularly art house-like approach, which, like I mentioned earlier, will certainly back off a large amount of potential viewers. However, I personally very much appreciate his decision. He has obviously chosen not to make this some big, hyped-up monster movie about all things paranormal. Instead, Hereafter deals with its subject with great integrity and subtlety. Although, despite said subtlety, it features a few moments which are, by contrast, incredibly intense and shocking in a non-scary way . In fact, I would even go so far as to say it is not for the faint of heart, but I mean that mostly in an emotional sense, rather than a spectacular one. On a side note, I would actually not recommend this film to anyone who has, in any way, shape or form been confronted with the 2004 tsunami, or even the London terrorist attacks. It might be really confronting, so be advised.I personally think the film's rating of 6.7 is a bit low, but on the other hand I do somewhat understand why this film has not received the appreciation it deserves. Simply put, not everyone actually, many people will not understand it. It is a small story, for a small audience. Also, anyone watching this because they think it's all about Matt Damon will be somewhat deceived. I fully understand why they put his name and picture on the poster, since he is the only big name on the payroll. But this is really not 'his' film, he just plays a part in it. And he does it well, but the rest of the cast actually deserves a great deal of credit, because they are quite simply phenomenal. And I mean *all* of them. Cécile de France is really impressive, she plays her part with great dignity and empathy. She truly carries every scene she's in, and she will definitely do her country proud. Personally, I was most affected both story- and acting wise by the 'London segment' of the film. The story of the two young brothers is absolutely heartbreaking, and the McLaren boys do a superb job at translating this onto the screen. Anyone who doesn't at least feel a shudder of emotion when watching their story unfold, well... honestly doesn't have a lot of heart. I refuse to give away any plot points at all, other than what I already have. This is really the kind of story you just need to surrender to in order to really appreciate it. The pacing demands some patience, but if this is your kind of film it really won't be too much trouble and you will be greatly rewarded.The way the story unfolds the three-way structure, which doesn't come together until the very end , inevitably evokes comparison to 'Babel', but honestly, that one cost me a far greater deal of effort to sit through than Hereafter. But that is entirely personal of course, and the structure is really the only similarity between the two; the stories are completely different. And I also think Hereafter is actually far more accessible than Babel, despite its subject matter. The stories are told with such tenderness that it didn't actually bother me at all that they were three separate stories which, until the end, had nothing to do with each other. They all intrigued me in their own personal way.Actually, I could go on and on...It's been a long time since a film has really touched my heart, but this one has. I've been thinking about what rating I should give it, but honestly, I can't think of a single reason why I wouldn't give this film a 10. Hereafter is a film of true beauty, a real gem. Which, unfortunately, won't be understood by many people, but who knows... Perhaps someday, its time will come.
On the way home from seeing this terrific movie, I stopped at a light, a few cars in front waiting to turn right. Around us, the sun had just set, a full white moon was high and the reflections of brake lights bounced off gas stations and car dealerships.What an amazing world we live in. There is so much in the five miles between my house and the theater where I saw the movie that I could never experience it all. Moments arrive and disappear and the the people shift, move, appear and disappear.I think most of us need some kind of assurance that it all goes on forever, that our open windows <more>
aren't just blacked over and sealed at death.Clint Eastwood has made a quiet, reflective, thoughtful film on this condition, this need for forever. It's not a flashy paranormal probe of ghosts and goblins, spirits and such.Taking three central lives we see our need for a hereafter from a French woman who has experienced something before being revived, from a twin boy who has lost his brother and from a lonely man who seems able to capture something from beyond this life. Or perhaps he just captures something from those who come to him.Cecile De France is stunning as a television reporter who touches her own death and returns. Frankie or is it George McLaren is good as the young boy. And Matt Damon's restrained performance is a revelation.Eastwood has the assured hand that allows long segments in French with English subtitles and a juncture with two disasters and such a touchy-feely subject, and yet it works. Quietly. Thoughtfully.He also has the good sense to let us draw our own conclusions.
Original, Interesting, Intelligent...in a word...Excellent (by Shoshobe)
This drama is about three lonely people each living in different countries whose lives become indelibly connected in an unforseeable, yet touching way. The story centers on Matt Damon, an American, who apparently has the psychic ability of contacting the recently departed, however, he believes that this "gift" is a "curse" because it renders him a social outcast. There is also a French woman who has a near death experience and a troubled British boy grieving over the loss of a loved one.I am not a firm believer in a hereafter life or psychic abilities, and what is great <more>
about this movie is that it addresses these issues in an intelligent way without asking the audience to debate their existence. Instead, it focuses on the characters and how these issues affect their lives. There is nothing cheap or gimmicky about this movie. It simply tells a touching story without being overly sentimental. Clint Eastwood delivers a great picture and Matt Damon an excellent performance. The round-out cast deserves a big-hand as well. Keep in mind that this is a character drama and, like cooking a good sauce, takes its time to develop a richness. So if you're the type of person who only responds to immediate sensory gratification, this movie might not be for you.
with Hereafter, there is no in between (by alerter)
Eastwood's Hereafter is going to be a love it or hate it affair. It is remarkably different from anything he's directed before and remarkably superior to previous, similar efforts from Inarritu, etc, to relate globally dispersed, yet ultimately intertwined character driven stories.I am someone who does not believe that there is such a thing as life after death. As skeptical as I am about it, I also know that I cannot possibly prove that there is no such thing. Hereafter didn't change my mind about this one bit, but that didn't stop me from deeply enjoying and appreciating the <more>
story that Eastwood and Morgan had to tell.So much has been said about the leisurely and meandering pace of the film, which I find to be pointless observations. Many of these same reviewers completely failed to grasp that the astonishing, mostly first-person tsunami sequence was supposed to have happened in Thailand not Maui, where the practicals were shot , based on the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. It's equally clueless of these same commentators to characterize the terror elements of Herefter as being "post-9/11," when terrorist attacks against civilians have been going on, around the world, before and since 9/11. The terror incident portrayed in Hereafter is clearly based on the 2005 London Tube bombings, known over there as 7/7. No one, not even a ghost in Hereafter, predicted it. Finally, some of these same reviewers fault Matt Damon's George Lonegan for not being a future seeing clairvoyant, when his one and only supernatural ability is limited to channeling the dead under very specific circumstances. For these impatient chroniclers, all of these details must have rushed by too slowly for them to have noticed at all. The fundamental story revolves around three kinds of loss.Cecile De France's silver-spooned French TV journalist Marie LeLay dies skeptics would say she has a near-death, out-of-body experience and then miraculously comes back to life when active efforts to revive her have failed. Her experience of crossing over and back gradually comes to overthrow nearly everything in her previously self-assured and self-determined Parisian life.Damon's Lonegan rightfully considers his ability to channel the dead as being a curse. Modern medicine has boiled his condition down to a form of childhood brain-injury induced schizophrenia, to be controlled through the use of powerful medications that render him feeling lifeless. Refusing to medicate, his unmuted "talent" results in his ongoing alienation from the rest of everyday humanity -- that humanity having a high propensity for shooting messengers. In the meanwhile, he lives an economically precarious blue collar life in San Francisco and listens to Charles Dickens audio books as a substitute for sleep. All of this is portrayed with deft understatement by Damon.Real-life identical twins George and Frankie McLaren portray twelve-minutes separated twins Jason and Marcus, who are engaged in a spirited battle to prevent London's Child Services from taking them away from their beloved opiate addicted mother Lyndsey Marshall , who self medicates between fixes with alcohol. The younger Marcus, who has always deferred to his "older" brother, becomes a lost half-soul when Jason unexpectedly dies while returning from an hope filled errand that Marcus was initially asked to undertake for their mother. Jason was filling a prescription that would begin their mother's fight against addiction. The same tragedy results in Marcus being placed in a foster home. So, he loses his mom, too. No matter how high functioning Marcus seems to be in his determination to reconnect with "Jase," he is deep in the grip of shock and grief. All of the other elements of Hereafter serve to underscore and develop each character's profound sense of loss as well as their respective quests to fill their voids with meaningful answers. There's a very Dickensian feel to this, too. Bryce Dallas Howard delivers an inspired turn as Melanie, George's night school cooking partner and potential romantic interest. Some reviewers have criticized Howard for overly hammy "bad acting," when, in fact, she perfectly nails the part of a hypomanic speed-dater, rushing headlong into something she desires, but is too wounded by a traumatic past to be able to handle. It's all seemingly unbelievable... until you've met people, in real-life, who are just like Melanie. As such, I think Howard's interpretation was something courageous.The acting is so relaxed and natural you almost don't realize that it's a direct by product of Eastwood's mostly one-take approach to film making. Every actor is delivering their A-game. If I were permitted more than 1000 words here, I would go into more detail about that. Suffice it to say that no one is phoning anything in. As for how things tie up at the London Book Fair and the fairy tale ending between Marie and George, I have no qualms. She's died and come back, so George's "curse" becomes his unique means of understanding what happened to Marie in a way that no one else can. To me, that is something lyrical, if not poetic.Hereafter delivers no answers whatsoever about the afterlife, but it does conclude with three bright notes of new beginnings. In that, some might see the work of a benevolent divine hand. I saw three decent souls who chose to never give up. One does not contradict the other. I urge you to see it and decide for yourself.
Excellent film exploring deep emotions and near-death experience (by mtroum-2)
An emotional film bring some hankies exploring the love of children for their mother, the loss of a loved one, and the near-death experiences of the two main characters. The acting is superb, particularly the young McLaren brothers and Cecile DeFrance. I applaud Clint Eastwood for taking this risk and creating a solid piece with riveting emotions and a fantastic conclusion. The only leap of faith that must be taken is the belief that George Matt Damon truly has this gift/curse since it is the thread that weaves through all his relationships. This is truly an enjoyable movie and adds to my <more>
belief that the greatness of a film is not in the critic's eyes but in your own. This is the second sleeper movie of the week for me. The first one was RED...a great, entertaining movie.
Near-death experience, blessing or woe, cinematically described in the Peter Morgan scripted, Clint Eastwood directed enjoyable 3-fold poignant story (by ruby_fff)
There's no worry that the film would be heavy due to subject matter. "Hereafter" is a comfortably-paced film experience from veteran director Clint Eastwood at wondrous prime age of 80 . Peter "The Queen" Morgan's screenplay on 'life after close encounter with death' is seemingly simple yet full of spirited pardon the pun ingredients. There are vignettes depicting different social strata of life situations: rich and famous in the French television media and European publishing world as we follow a career-driven female journalist; quietly solo <more>
'blue-collar worker' shying away from exposure of his 'possessed gift' in San Francisco; struggling addict, London single mom dealing with custody of her boys and the lone twin attachment to his lost brother. Morgan skillfully scripted three intersecting story lines inclusive of contemporary social elements and events: natural disaster, bomb attack, fatal accident, culinary classes, corporate meetings, company layoffs, foster care, book fair.As in most of Eastwood directed films, there's never hurriedness or push for emphasis of themes. We are watching and experiencing at comfortable pace the development of the characters as the stories unfold. The characters, we care. Not just the three main ones, but the supporting roles are just as interesting and touching - fine acting all round. Bryce Dallas Howard as Melanie - sensual-sensory moments at the food tasting segment with Damon reminds me of the flavorful w-d Sandra Nettelbeck's 2001 German gem "Bella Martha". Brief appearance by Marthe Keller as reassuring Dr. Rousseau at the Swiss hospice institute reminds me of her 'terminal' role in d Sydney Pollack's 1977 "Bobby Deerfield" opposite Al Pacino. Derek Jacobi as himself fondly reciting Dickens is always a welcoming interlude.Matt Damon, second time round collaboration with Eastwood he was fantastic in his South African Rugby team captain role in Eastwood's 2009 "Invictus" opposite Morgan Freeman , once again delivered a subtly convincing and sensitive George Lonegan, the reluctant psychic who felt trapped by his not so hidden gift. Cécile De France as Marie Lelay let us share her anguish and determined pursuit for true understanding, recognition of her near-death experience. Marcus at such a young age, quite pensive and resolute in his search for connection with his brother, is well-portrayed by the McLaren twins.Besides being director and producer to "Hereafter," Eastwood is also the composer of the film score. I appreciate the palpable energy and loving care contributed to the accompanying music as the scenes reveal and the stories evolve - the guitar strains and the piano rhythm so aptly integrated to the movie experience.Along with screenwriter Peter Morgan, Steven Spielberg is one of the executive producers and it was said that he actually introduced the original draft to Eastwood, who promptly bought the rights to the book 'Hereafter.' There's an insightful article titled "Eastwood Breaks Another Mold" by C. McGrath which provided background notes to how the script and film came to be. Almost as fate plays a hand and the two important players Eastwood-Morgan 'intersect', we are fortunate to get to enjoy the remarkable film production of 'Hereafter': a perceptive study of life after death on the sly, dramatically rewarding.
Hereafter is a different type of film from Clint Eastwood. It does not have shoot outs, it does not take place in California, and it is not hard-boiled. What it is, however, is gentle and quiet, with some moving performances and fairly good writing. Hereafter is often moving, even if its script does become sappy at times. Its hard to remember that great directors are the most versatile ones and Clint Eastwood simply proves this by making a sad, Babel-esquire movie about trauma and death.Hereafter follows three stories about death. The first is about a French journalist, as played by the great <more>
Cecile de France, who nearly dies in a tsunami and rethinks her life afterwards. The second is about a psychic Matt Damon , who can actually communicate with the dead, although he chooses not to do so. He has quit his job as a psychic and wants to return to a normal life. The third is about a British boy who loses his brother in a car accident and tries to overcome his death. The three stories intertwine, although it does take a long time for the stories to even start coming together.Peter Morgan's writing shines in this movie. Morgan, who previously wrote The Queen, has written another good script, even if this one is not as good as his other writing. Although the story feels a little "easy" in terms of its predictability and deus ex machina turns towards the end, it is still an interesting story and one worth watching. Morgan and Eastwood's ideas on death may not be for everybody, especially because the movie never deals with religion, but nevertheless, it is still an unusual and enthralling story.The acting from most of the main cast is very good as well. Cecile de France, a relatively unknown actress in the United States, outdoes the rest of the cast in her sad but delicate performance. Matt Damon, probably the most well-known actor in the movie, is pretty good, but he will never be able to have a performance as great as the one in Good Will Hunting. Unfortunately, the performance of the British boy falls short. Played by both Frankie and George McLaren, the acting is sadly emotionless, even during the saddest scenes, and feels fake. Although the may just be children and one cannot expect much from child actors, there have been much more believable and better child performances.Clint Eastwood has made a good movie with Hereafter. It is not a great movie, per se, but it is an interesting one nonetheless and one that is worth watching simply for this reason. Hereafter is certainly not one of Eastwood's best in fact, it is probably one of his lesser good ones , but it is one of his must unusual ones and should be seen to show that he can direct in many genres. Eastwood has directed thrillers, westerns, and sports dramas, but never a delicate drama upheld by great performances. And for that reason, it should be seen, even by Eastwood fans who are sure that they will hate it. From a tour de force opening tsunami scene to a somewhat odd and disappointing, but quiet end, Hereafter is a unique movie from a person that one may not expect to make this kind of film.Note: My rating would be a 7.5/10 or 3/4 if I could give it half-stars.