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The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

 -  Drama  -  21 November 1997 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 23,778 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 187 user | 120 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

This film documents the effects of a tragic bus accident on the population of a small town.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 50 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Caerthan Banks ...
...
Tom McCamus ...
...
...
Risa
...
Wendell
...
Allison
Kirsten Kieferle ...
Stewardess
...
Wanda
Earl Pastko ...
Hartley
...
Bear
David Hemblen ...
Abbott
...
Sarah Rosen Fruitman ...
Jessica
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Storyline

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 | children | anger | school | lawyer | See more »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De beaux lendemains  »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

DEM 96,303 (Germany) (6 March 1998)

Gross:

$4,306,697 (USA) (3 April 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Polley's character, Nicole, was an aspiring singer before the accident, and is seen on stage at various points in the film performing both The Tragically Hip's "Courage (for Hugh MacLennan)" and Jane Siberry's "One More Colour". The Tragically Hip's original version of "Courage" also appears in the film. It was Polley's idea to re-work "Courage" for the closing credits - a version she personally sang. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Mitchell Stephens: You'd make a good poker player, kid.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Especial Cannes: 50 Anos de Festival (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Dog Track Drizzle
Music by Mychael Danna
Lyrics by Sarah Polley
Performed by The Sam Dent Band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A haunting tale about how nothing is ever as it seems
25 December 1999 | by (Ukiah, California) – See all my reviews

On the surface, this is simply the story of a small Canadian town traumatized by a school bus crash. Personal injury lawyer Ian Holm arrives on the scene in his expensive car, cellular phone at hand, ready to sign up victims for a lawsuit because, "I believe there is no such thing as an accident." But that summary really tells nothing, because this haunting tale is not about a grasping lawyer or greedy victims, but about how nothing is ever as it seems on the surface.

Director Atom Egoyan does a remarkable job with the narrative. Though at times the movie is difficult to follow because of some sequences which it is not immediately clear are flashbacks, it's worth sticking with it. The story works precisely because the chronology is chopped up to reveal the secrets each character, including the lawyer, keeps hidden, until the tragedy finally rips open the lives of everyone it touches.

Repeat viewings are definitely in order, if only because of the multiple, interwoven layers and images which are not always apparent on first viewing, and to ponder the interplay among the three strands of narrative in the movie. The movie is worthwhile, too, for Holm's portrayal of his grim, relentless character (possibly the best of his career), and Sarah Polley's remarkable performance as a kind of modern-day Greek chorus.


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