7.6/10
29,934
204 user 101 critic

The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

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

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
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.

Director:

Atom Egoyan

Writers:

Russell Banks (novel), Atom Egoyan (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 33 wins & 53 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Exotica (1994)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A man plagued by neuroses frequents the club, Exotica, trying to find solace - but even there his past hides among him.

Director: Atom Egoyan
Stars: Bruce Greenwood, Elias Koteas, Don McKellar
Calendar (1993)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A photographer and his wife take photographs of Armenian churches for use in a calendar. Their driver, a local resident, expounds on the history of the churches while the wife translates. ... See full summary »

Director: Atom Egoyan
Stars: Arsinée Khanjian, Ashot Adamyan, Atom Egoyan
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young woman leaves Ireland to find her boyfriend in England, and while there is helped by a man hiding unsettling secrets.

Director: Atom Egoyan
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Arsinée Khanjian, Elaine Cassidy
The Adjuster (1991)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A reflection about what makes everyone's life unique, through the story of Noah's family. Noah is an adjuster, having sex with his customers. His wife Hera watches pornographic movies for ... See full summary »

Director: Atom Egoyan
Stars: Elias Koteas, Arsinée Khanjian, Maury Chaykin
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ian Holm ... Mitchell Stevens
Caerthan Banks Caerthan Banks ... Zoe Stevens
Sarah Polley ... Nicole Burnell
Tom McCamus ... Sam Burnell
Gabrielle Rose ... Dolores Driscoll
Alberta Watson ... Risa
Maury Chaykin ... Wendell
Stephanie Morgenstern ... Allison
Kirsten Kieferle ... Stewardess
Arsinée Khanjian ... Wanda
Earl Pastko Earl Pastko ... Hartley
Simon Baker ... Bear
David Hemblen ... Abbott
Bruce Greenwood ... Billy
Sarah Rosen Fruitman Sarah Rosen Fruitman ... Jessica
Edit

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 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

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El dulce porvenir See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,149, 10 October 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,252,652, 12 April 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

As indicated on Writer and Director Atom Egoyan's commentary track on the DVD, many people ask about the odd mask worn by the notetaker during the deposition scene. This is a stenographer's mask, an item which is used in real-life for the stenographer to record his or her own voice during the deposition. See more »

Goofs

In at least one scene, speeds were mentioned in "miles per hour". For a film set in British Columbia, km/h would have been much more likely. See more »

Quotes

Mitchell Stephens: [speaking of his estranged daughter's feeling for him and her mother when she was a child] She loved us both equally then... Just as she hates us both equally now.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in My Wife and Kids: The Sweet Hairafter (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Boy
Music by Mychael Danna
Lyrics by Sarah Polley
Performed by The Sam Dent Band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Not for everyone, but this melancholy film stays with you long after its over...
26 January 2000 | by janesbit1See all my reviews

I re-watched The Sweet Hereafter on video last night, and am still haunted by it today. It is structured so that you know some of the basic tragic plot near the beginning. This caused my eyes to water at some of the beautiful lyrical overhead tracking shots of the school bus winding through the snow covered roads of the Pacific northwest.

The film switches between the time that the lawyer arrives in town to "help" the families receive compensation, and to days just prior to the accident. We witness a loving "hippie" couple who has adopted a beautiful Native American boy, a loving mother of a school phobic learning disabled boy, and a widower who loves his two children a great deal and sees them off to school by following them in his truck. This same widower is having an affair with the mother of the school phobic--she is unhappily married to a "pig" of a husband. Complicating matters is the father who obviously loves his teenage daughter in Lolita-like fashion.

Part of the theme of The Sweet Hereafter is similar to Magnolia--accidents do happen--perhaps no one at fault... or perhaps all the adults had some part in it without anyone being at fault, as only the innocent children were killed.

The town had changed... tragedy has taken away the town's joy and innocence. The parents are no longer open with each other, but guarded, suspicious... in deep grief.

The lawyer is little more than an ambulance chaser, attempting to profit off their tragedy. Yet, he, too is a tragic figure who has already "lost" his daughter--

He had saved her when she was a baby, yet she has now turned away from him... and his feelings are now ambivalent towards her--he is a grief-stricken, defeated father, who vascillates between wanting to talk with his daughter on his cell phone and deciding to cut her off.

The story of the Pied Piper is interweaved between various events in the movie to give greater depth to the story. There's also a great scene in the movie between the lawyer and the garage mechanic, who has lost his two children, that shows that the theme is much broader than the literal story:

"I'm telling you this because... we've all lost our children, Mr. Ansel. They're dead to us. They kill each other in the streets. They wander comatose in shopping malls. They're paralyzed in front of televisions. Something terrible has happened that's taken our children away. It's too late. They're gone."

This movie isn't for everyone. It's a serious, layered piece with a lot of melancholy. The kind of fare that film critics can love, but Academy voters will avoid. But what it strives to accomplish is done very well. And it will stay with you long after the final scenes have appeared.


45 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 204 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed