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The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

R | | Drama | 21 November 1997 (USA)
0:31 | Trailer

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A bus crash in a small town brings a lawyer to the town to defend the families, but he discovers that everything is not what it seems.



(novel), (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 33 wins & 52 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Caerthan Banks ...
Tom McCamus ...
Kirsten Kieferle ...
Earl Pastko ...
David Hemblen ...
Sarah Rosen Fruitman ...


A small community is torn apart by a tragic accident which kills most of the town's children. A lawyer visits the victims' parents in order to profit from the tragedy by stirring up the their anger and launching a class action suit against anyone they can blame. The community is paralyzed by its anger and cannot let go. All but one young girl, left in a wheelchair after the accident, who finds the courage to lead the way toward healing. Written by Matthew Tichenor <mticheno@direct.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bus | lawyer | child | anger | school | See All (197) »


There is no such thing as the simple truth. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

21 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El dulce porvenir  »

Box Office


CAD 5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$31,149 (USA) (10 October 1997)


$4,306,697 (USA) (3 April 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Caerthan Banks is the daughter of Russell Banks, who wrote the novel (also titled "The Sweet Hereafter") that the film is based on. See more »


When Stephens visits the Ottos, and Mr. Otto offers him some tea, we hear a teakettle whistling but the one we see on the cooker is not the whistling type. See more »


[phone ringing]
Mitchell Stephens: That's my daughter. Or it may be the police to tell me they've found her dead. She's a drug addict.
Billy Ansell: Why are you telling me this?
Mitchell Stephens: Why am I telling you this, Mr. Ansel? Because we've all lost our children. They're dead to us.
See more »


Spoofed in There's Something About Mary (1998) See more »


Words and Music by The Tragically Hip
Sam Dent version arranged by Mychael Danna
Vocal by Sarah Polley
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the great ones, but not for all tastes
16 September 2004 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

"The Sweet Hereafter" was arguably the best film of the 1990s and is one of my twenty favorite movies of all time. Everything comes together perfectly: fine characterization and acting (especially by Ian Holm), beautiful photography, and a hypnotic musical score featuring Armenian folk instruments. The mood is deeply elegiac but never maudlin or weepy. There's not a false note in the movie.

But don't worry; I'm not going to start screaming, "If you don't like this movie, you just don't understand it! Go back to your Hollywood pablum, you cretinous moron!" That's a stupid argument in any case, and especially so here. There are going to be some people -- including a few art-house fans -- who will find this movie slow and tedious. For me and many others, however, the film is a masterpiece.


69 of 98 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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