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Original, Interesting, a word...Excellent
Shoshobe9 November 2010
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 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.
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If we are Here now, we need an After
bobt14522 October 2010
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 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.
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I can't believe I was gonna miss it because of bad reviews!
viewerindepth3 September 2011
I'm amazed at the amount of attacks this wondrous picture has suffered so far. I don't know whether it's Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, or an overstated publicity before its opening. Would it have received different reviews if it had been directed or starred by other people, I don't know! The movie is SUPREME! It's probably going to be the best movie I will have watched this year. I don't deny that at first I was so put off watching it—because of your reviews, of course, and because I originally thought it would grapple with bereavement and loss and all spooky depressing matters—but an initial 10 min proved I had been greatly mistaken, and misled. It's been time since I've followed such a delicate and lovely storyline. It reminds me of movies like Sleepless in Seattle, The Adjustment Bureau and Jet Lag. It's much better and sophisticated in romance, for that matter; the romantic element runs almost surreptitiously, without you noticing it, till it is consummated in the end. The multi-plot scenario is really authentic, despite some reservations I have toward the Irish twins story. Some may criticize by stating its slow pace, but in my opinion it couldn't have been brought out another way; this is drama, people, not an action or horror flick.

This is a very bright, profound and unusual work of art. I may have my takes on some points in the scenario, the attitude towards Christianity in particular (which was quite unexpected given the spiritual dimension of the movie—as if they were trying to re-found spirituality without religion!); but all in all, a fascinating picture.
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Death and Clint Eastwood
lewiskendell2 April 2011
Hereafter is a slow, quiet study on the effect that death and the dearly departed have on the living. 

It's not really a ghost story or even a very supernatural movie. The three main characters each have felt death's power in different ways in their life. George (Matt Damon), a man who can contact the deceased, has fled from his abilities because they keep him from having a normal life. Marie (Cecile de France) is a journalist who has a near-death experience during a tsunami, and becomes consumed with understanding what she saw. And in London, a young British boy is desperate to contact a lost family member one last time. 

The three separate stories do eventually connect, but that's not really where the value of Hereafter lies. I can see this film being a source of frustration for some viewers eager for a traditional conflict and resolution or character arc, but those things aren't really Eastwood's priority.The movie doesn't have much of a "point", other than how death is such an important part of all of our lives, even as it's also probably the most mysterious. 

I liked it, but I'm hesitant in recommending it. Slow-paced movies like these need the right audience. It's fairly different from Eastwood's other movies, and I wouldn't mind seeing him tackle something like this, again.   
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Here is a Film Before its Time...
MyNeighborFanboy24 October 2010
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 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.
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A surprise hit ... Eastwood at his finest.
KateBeth19 October 2010
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 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.
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Excellent film exploring deep emotions and near-death experience
mtroum-229 October 2010
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 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.
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Incredibly intense, subtle masterpiece.
Dory_Darko2 August 2011
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 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.
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A Curse, Not a Gift
David Ferguson24 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Greetings again from the darkness. One of the advantages to not being dependent upon movie reviews for food and shelter is that there is no concern for a superstar holding a grudge against me and my opinions. Make no mistake, director Clint Eastwood is a Hollywood powerhouse and also one of the most consistently fine filmmakers working today. Still, no one bats a thousand ... this is a miss, with barely a swing.

The film follows three basic stories. The first revolves around George Lonegan (Matt Damon), who seemingly has true psychic abilities. The problem is that George does not wish to have anything to do with his "powers". The second involves twin brother, Marcus and Jason, who live with their druggie mom. Things change quickly when Jason is hit and killed by a truck and Marcus is taken away while his mom rehabs. The third story has Marie LeLay (Cecile De France) as an investigative reporter who gets caught in a tsunami while vacationing and has a "near death experience".

I will not go into detail for any of the three stories other than to say Jay Mohr plays Damon's money-grubbing brother who wants to take his talent to the big time; the sadness of the surviving twin is tough to take at times as he searches for a connection to his dead brother; and lastly, Marie's near-death brings her closer to life than she ever was before.

What is most surprising, given the pedigree of Eastwood and writer Peter Morgan (The Queen, Last King of Scotland) is that this movie and each of these stories are, for lack of a better word, quite boring. We really get little insight into any of the characters - other than the overall sadness each shows regularly. The sub-story with the most interest involves a brief encounter with a secret research clinic sporting a Nobel Prize winner. The clinic evidently has much research and data on this topic.

As you have already guessed, these three stories intersect near the film's end. This is a ploy that is all too common in Hollywood these days. I won't give away how it all comes together, but it bordered on eye-rolling. The film does not depend upon the viewer's beliefs or understanding, though I personally believe some people do have a heightened sense of awareness and connection. That's not really what it's about. It's more about sadness, loneliness and the need for personal connection while alive.

As usual, Mr. Eastwood has put together a terrific score. And I will gladly admit that the first 7-10 minutes of the film, including the tsunami were captivating ... and I loved the connection with Charles Dickens. That's the best I can offer for the film, and here's hoping Eastwood's biopic on J Edgar Hoover brings significantly more interest and entertainment value.
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Slow Pace- with unfulfilling and ambiguous story
patricjmiller22 October 2010
The pacing of this film did not bother me. Of course, I am over 50, so I can actually sit still through a slower paced storyline that includes a number of different characters, without something blowing up, or someone getting undressed to keep my attention.

What did bother me, perhaps comes from a unique view from others reviewing the film. As one who has experienced an NDE, I was disappointed with both the flimsy, and undeveloped view of the female lead's experience, and the ambiguous way in which her story unfolded.

On one hand, we have a character whose NDE was so life-altering, as to divert her from her primary job as a political reporter, into someone who writes a book extolling the difficulty in revealing the truth in the modern media world about the validity of the NDE experience. The dust jacket on her book, as well as casual references to her research, talk about all of the expert testimony that support the overwhelming facts about NDE experiences, and the correlation between science and the afterlife. And then…the movie tells us nothing.

The script (or perhaps what was left after Eastwood edited the script) simply glosses over anything substantial in the way of research, except to talk about a Nobel laureate who was ridiculed after revealing his research. One line...out of over two and a half hours of script.

The question to me, is why start the conversation, if you aren't going to offer even a small slice of the answers? The research is voluminous. Those of us who have experienced an NDE know that it is far more than a chemical reaction to the body starting to shut down. Much more.

But, all we are left with in this movie, is a lead character who doesn't want to acknowledge his gift, even in the face of those around him who believe in a "hereafter," more than he does.

Anyone who has experienced an NDE will find this movie sadly unfulfilling. But perhaps, it will bring many more of us to admit to what happened, and start a much more meaningful dialogue about the facts.

As a few of the younger reviewers mentioned, a vast majority of the audience was over 50. No doubt many of those there were looking for answers about the "aferlife," for one reason or another.

It would have been a great chance to tell the world something substantial. But in the end the movie was a nice idea, with slow execution...and painfully unfulfilling.
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The day after Hereafter...
curiousnyc200123 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It seems to me that the majority of the positive user reviews here on IMDb for Hereafter seem to have some bias for the fact that this movie was directed by Clint Eastwood (who also provided the music). If you prefer your movie reviews to be based on the movie itself, it would be in your best interest to ignore such reviews because, for the most part, they rate the film with way more regard than it deserves.

As a survivor of trauma, I went to see Hereafter hoping to find something that could relate to what I and those like me experience on a daily basis. However the film only slightly begins to some close. Unfortunately it comes up dismally short and that, obviously, was not by design.

There is no heart in this movie; none. Yes the opening, catastrophic, scene is quite gripping and well executed. However, well before you get to the end, you realize that it was dramatically out of place with the rest of the feel of this film. Once the film establishes the defining moments that sets the three main characters off on this narrative journey, the rest of the way to the conclusion of the film is loosely comprised of personal experiences that hardly give their protagonists any depth or emotion. Not to mention that the pacing of and transition between these experiences seems, if anything, random and inconsequential.

Cécile De France's character seems hardly driven (or affected) by the severity of her trauma to motivate her subsequent, life altering, actions with any passion. Matt Damon seems detached throughout, bouncing along as emotionless as a tumbleweed until, towards the end of the film, when he finally takes the (all to predictable) risk of coming out of his shell. The casting of the McLaren brothers almost comes across as a ploy. In that I mean, it seems that they decided to cast actors lacking talent and emotional range so that it was to be perceived as emotional numbness. However, in most moments when we need to see that they have something more to offer than melancholy, they come up short. With intonation that seems to be like that of boys being forced to read for the part of a daisy in the middle school play, the boys mumble their words. Most of the only emotion to be perceived is derived strictly from the visuals and situations their characters experience (you'll see).

These characters' destinies roll down a slope with the incline of a driveway until they reach the curb that is their coming together. Note, this is NOT a spoiler; it is pretty obvious that this is the inevitable outcome. If showing that people can be made numb after the experience of something traumatic is the main purpose of this film, then it does so fairly well. However, with nothing in the way of contrast, this just comes across as boredom.

I know it probably seems at this point that I hate this film. I don't. It's a fine AVERAGE movie; a decent escape during the time that it runs. It certainly isn't worthy of the high praise that many of the other reviewers on IMDb have bestowed upon it. It's my hope that my review balances out the IMDb opinion pool.

Also, a note to Clint: The music is dismal. Any attempt to make it understated and poignant resulted in something that brings up memories of cheesy 70's romantic tear-jerkers. You should have forsaken you ego and left it up to someone else.

See or wait? Wait for the DVD
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I wish I had been psychic, so I would've known this movie would suck...
chucknorrisfacts16 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"Hereafter" was a major disappointment for me. It's not that I thought the movie would be the best I'd ever seen or anything like that, but coming from such high-caliber talent as Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood, I guess I just expected more.

It's pretty boring. It's not that I have to have high speed chases, shootouts and explosions to entertain me all the time, either. I like those movies on occasion, but I also like movies that take a while to tell their story. I call them "slow burners". Think of a firecracker with a really long wick. It might take a while for the wick to burn all the way down to the firework, but once it does it explodes and is incredibly impressive.

"Hereafter" had a long wick, so to speak, but once it had burned down to the firework, it was a dud.

I really think it was tricky marketing to put Matt Damon front and center on the movie poster. Sure, he's the main character, I guess, but he gets very little screen time in proportion to every one else it seems.

There were a few times I thought the movie was going to go off in a more interesting direction but it always backed away from it and continued on it's boring course.

In short, I'd say avoid this movie unless you need help falling asleep at night. It's that boring! Sure, there are a couple of emotional scenes but there's just not enough there to really make the whole movie work.
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with Hereafter, there is no in between
alerter21 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
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 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.
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The best part of Hereafter? The "after" part.
LadyLiberty24 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'll be honest with you: the trailers for Hereafer never really grabbed me. But with the only other major release this weekend being Paranormal Activity 2 (the original of which scared the living daylights out of me), I opted for something a little tamer. Besides, Clint Eastwood has proved time and again to be a brilliant director, and I like Matt Damon quite a bit. How could a movie involving the two of them possibly be bad, right? So much for logic...

Hereafter opens with the deceptively bucolic scenes of a tropical paradise. Popular French reporter Marie DeLay (Cecile De France) is vacationing with her boss and lover, Didier (Thierry Neuvic). Just before the couple is set to return to Europe, they become among the thousands of victims of a deadly tsunami. Marie in particular has a very close call and, despite being relatively uninjured and back at work, she simply can't get past what she claims to have experienced during the course of her near death experience.

George Lonegan (Matt Damon) lives on the other side of the world where he's a factory worker in San Francisco with a bizarre bent for Charles Dickens novels. Though George is purportedly one of the few psychics around who's actually not a fraud, he wants nothing to do with talking to the dead any more. His brother Billy (Jay Mohr) is all too aware of the money that can be made should George take up doing readings again, and he does everything possible to convince his brother that he ought to use his "gift" despite the fact George himself considers it more of a curse.

Meanwhile, in London a pair of twin boys named Marcus and Jason (Frankie/George McClaren) are dealing with difficult circumstances at home. Things only get worse for Marcus when he loses someone close to him and sets himself on a mission to find out anything he can about life after death and communications with the dead.

The three stories obviously come together late in the film, but getting there is tedious at best and the resolution can only be described as anticlimactic. The actors are good, the script isn't bad, and the direction and cinematography are excellent (special kudos go to the special effects wizard who created an extraordinarily believable disaster with the tsunami and its aftermath). So what's the problem? I was bored.

Hereafter moves at a crawl. The subject was kept nebulous enough that I never really got all that interested in it, and I frankly didn't care much about any of the characters, either. That's no reflection on the capabilities of the actors who were uniformly quite good, but rather the one-dimensionality of the characters they played. In the midst of death, I found myself wondering if I'd remembered to put cat food on the grocery list and whether or not I'd have time on Saturday to get a pedicure. Yes, I was that bored.

BOTTOM LINE: When Hereafter ended, the audience was largely silent—and not in a good way. On my way out the door, I heard the couple behind me talking about the movie, and one said, "Well, that was a waste of time!" I couldn't have summed it up better myself. In fact, the only reason Hereafter gets four stars is because the cinematography is, indeed, brilliant. ADDED NOTE: Critical reviews of Hereafter have been largely quite positive. While I'm at a loss to give you one single good reason to see the movie, others disagree.

POLITICAL NOTES: None (US-related; there is some talk of former French leader Mitterand).

FAMILY SUITABILITY: Hereafter is rated PG-13 for "mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images, and for brief strong language." Kids of all ages will be bored out of their minds during Hereafter—and if you're a parent, you know what happens when kids get bored! While the rating is largely appropriate and older kids would be just fine from a parental guidance perspective, I'm still not willing to recommend Hereafter to anyone of any age for any reason. Sorry.
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Near-death experience, blessing or woe, cinematically described in the Peter Morgan scripted, Clint Eastwood directed enjoyable 3-fold poignant story
Ruby Liang (ruby_fff)9 November 2010
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 '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.
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Oh come on, people... Warning: Spoilers
First off, you have that totally useless subplot with Cecile De France (that CAN'T be her real name...?). You could cut the entire subplot out and not lose a thing. Her character is totally lame and unlikable (and so is that douche she's dating in the film) and worst of all, the subplot is boring as hell. She just spends time thinking about her magical escape from death in the opening tsunami scene, which should have been looped continuously for two hours, as it would have been better than the B/S we got.

Then you have Matt Damon's subplot, which plays like a really bad episode of Ghost Whisperer. Seriously he should have won a razzie, his performance here is so bad it's beyond surrealism. He is basically this psychic who can talk to dead people, and he meets this messed up hot chick in an Italian Cooking school, a subplot within a subplot that is soon left to die. I really can't remember what happened in this subplot, it was so damned uninteresting.

The ONLY interesting story was the British kid. I'll admit this movie was a bit of a nostalgic rush for me (which may be why it gets one star as opposed to 0) because a week before I watched this movie, I was in London and Paris for vacation. But this was an interesting sub-story, as he loses his twin brother, lives with a drug-addled mother, and has trouble adjusting to life with a new family. I'll admit there were a few humorous scenes and his search to talk to his brother was interesting and had me wanting to know more. Actually the movie could have been this and it would have worked a solid 3/5 off the bat.

And then the ending where it all comes together is just LAME!!!! If I am going to sit through a movie with 3 subplots with only one being even remotely interesting, I want a satisfactory conclusion. And don't get me started on the Romantic Comedy puke-fest of an ending. It brought back painful memories of "The Tourist".

I really love Clint, but this film was just an embarrassment on every level. This came from the same Clint Eastwood who gave us the amazing "Gran Torino", bear in mind. I don't even think replacing Matt Damon with Jennifer Love Hewitt would have saved the film.
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The Eternal Question and Clint Eastwood
Robert Klein19 November 2010
Life after death. Yes. The big question. Here 80 year old maverick Clint Eastwood present us with a cinematic feast without arriving to any final conclusion. How could he? The first quarter of the film is riveting, compelling, jaw dropping. Then, Matt Damon takes over. Let me be clear, I think he is a good, competent actor but I can't, ever, divorce myself from the actor and marry the character. I'm far too aware of his "acting" I have the feeling that Eastwood hires his actor and lets them to their own devices. Sometime that's a good thing but some others, like here and "Changeling" it is clear that more direction of actors was needed. Specially the children. Here as it was the case in "Changeling" the children seem kind of lost. Bryce Dallas Howard makes a bizarre contribution to the film. Unconvincing and down right annoying. And, I must say, I miss opening credits. I hope this fashion ends quickly. The appearance of Martha Keller took me out of the picture. I recognized the face but I couldn't put a name to it. The nagging thought distracted me away from the story. A problem that, with opening credits, could easily have been avoided. I'm rambling. I liked the film and Eastwood should be applauded. Still exploring, still taking risks. Well done!
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10 Things I Learned from Watching "Hereafter"
kglassclay090823 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
1) Matt Damon should stick to Jason Bourne. 2) Clint Eastwood should not ponder the Hereafter...ever again. 3) AMC Theaters have really comfortable seats for napping- and I got a good one. 4) The opening Tsunami scene should have been looped continuously for 2 hours rather than the b.s. that was shown. 5) Charles Dickens, when narrated by an old English gentleman, can put you to sleep ALMOST as quickly as this movie. 6) You can meet messed up hot chicks in Italian cooking classes. 7) When you die, you see a bunch of fuzzy figures- might be people, might be aliens, who knows? 8) Jay Mohr has absolutely hit the wall- aging has not been kind. 9) "Psychics" are still con-artists. 10) I should have gone and seen Jackass 3-D.
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Wretched, a lesson in what not to do in a movie
jon-wilson-126 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I seriously suspect that all the gushing reviews for this movie are by paid reviewers hired by the studio to try to save this awful movie.

Warning, avoid seeing the movie Hereafter at all costs! Time will seem to stop. You will witness disastrous dialog, cringe-worth acting, and some of the most heavy-handed foreshadowing I've ever come across.

This is the first time I've been motivated to review a movie on IMDb and I did so to warn other people about how bad this movie is.

Some of the scenes were laughably bad. The worst scene was when one of the twin brothers was sent to the pharmacy to pick up something for his mom. It's obvious something bad is going to happen to him because this is a movie about the afterlife, he decides to go instead of his brother at the last second, and all along the way to the shop he's talking to his brother on the cell phone about how great it is that his mom is about to quit doing drugs and that finally everything was starting to look up for their family! Seriously, this happened. A child could have written this. I knew before the boy left his house that he was going to be struck by a car. Anybody who has ever seen a movie would know this. And yet they had to shove it down our throats as we watched the boy plod through his lines like a robot (miserable acting) about how everything was going to turn out all right. Eastwood should be ashamed of himself.
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HappyHour7923 October 2010
I can't believe this is getting any good reviews. I think the idea was good but that's where it ends. It was very predictable, and the two hours felt like two days. I kept thinking it was going to get better and by the time I realized it wasn't, I was already to invested to walk out. The worst part about it is that I can't stop thinking about how bad it was. It was bad enough to make me write my first review. If you are going to a movie, make sure it isn't this one. Any and every other movie is better. Everyone that gave this a good rating should be ashamed of themselves for tricking people into seeing this thing. Very disappointing.
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dave-131122 October 2010
This movie was a waste of my time and money. I left the theater wishing for my money back. I can't believe people like this dribble. Let me recap what happened........ OK I'm done. Ya, nothing happened in this movie, absolutely nothing. The mood is sooo somber it's hard to stay awake. No background music, hardly any dialog and what dialog there is is awful. The movie makes no point, has no conclusion. A movies should have a beginning, middle and end? This has only a middle, with nothing to start it off and an end that doesn't really exist. I should have known I was in the wrong theater when I looked around and noticed the average age of the audience was older than Eastwood himself.
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Trite, Boring, 1-Dimensional, Pointless
dhall5824 October 2010
The best thing about this movie is that I got to see the trailer for True Grit. Hopefully True Grit will execute on the premise it presented. I think Eastwood decided to channel Robert Redford for this dreadful, slow, rambling mess of a movie. For the first half hour you feel like something is about to happen, but after another half hour you realize that it's just going to play out as an eventless exposition on death. Yawn, yawn, yawn. It's almost an insult that the movie wraps up sensibly, given that nothing is ever at stake in the film, and the characters, though well-drawn, don't have anything of any importance to accomplish. I get the feeling that the people who rated this highly either: 1) have recently experienced a death, or 2) are about to experience a death. Aside from them, there is no audience or reason for this junior-high school level term paper to evolve into a script or a movie. As a produced screenwriter, I read a lot of scripts. I read a lot of good scripts. The fact that Hollywood in general can't distinguish a good script from a rambling mess is why a larger percentage of entertainment dollars is going to video games and reality shows. Nothing scary in this movie. Nothing that rises to the level of real drama. No real thrills. No revelations or truths revealed in a new manner...$50 million to produce. What a waste of studio money.
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Fascinatingly haunting
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU21 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Clint Eastwood is always throwing his films in the crowd of onlookers as if it were a bomb or a good uppercut or some kind of blackmailing session of arm twisting. And this Hereafter trip into dead territory and death's kingdom is one more provocation right in our faces.

What is there beyond death? A beyond or hereafter that no one knows except a few who have been able to come back but who are regarded by people as some kind of zombies or crazy ranting and raving extra-terrestrials. He takes a little of Dead Zone by Stephen King and he turns his film into a journey across the world from San Francisco to London and Paris where we meet three exceptional beings. A twin brother who has lost his twin in some ugly road accident. A TV anchorwoman who has died in a tsunami and managed to come back. And a medium who suffered some health problem in his youth and died a couple of times or more on the operating table.

The whole film will aim at bringing the three together one way or another and make them discover there is something, even some life beyond those deadly and fatal events. At the same time he settles some long deserved accounts with a few people, among others French publishers who are as frigid as for publishing kinky things as old spinsters who have dedicated their whole lives to looking at the tip of their shoes. Jean Yves Berteloot in that role is cruel and so realistic that he is truer than truth itself. And we can think of absolutely all French publishers as being some rancid loveless and heartless old crumbs lost under a pile of rotting wood.

But the film is also a good fist blow right into the noses of the audience. Terrifying pictures of a tsunami, we used to say tidal wave in the old days, all the more frightening because of the recent Japanese tsunami. Horrifying pictures of death: death in the hands of that natural cataclysm; death in the hands of an underground catastrophe in London; death in the hands of some bullies against a younger child causing his deadly fate in the middle of the street; death in the hands of heroin, the famous horse that stampedes and gallops more often and longer than we can imagine.

And yet Clint Eastwood wants us to believe there is some bright side in that story. The medium who cannot have a normal life since he can't touch anyone without being transported into their hereafter and there-before, will be saved by love. The forlorn twin will find solace in his own dead brother who will know more about life than the living now he is dead. The TV anchorwoman who will find love and hope in someone who can see beyond the surface. Even the horrid horse will find its master in the hands of some good doctors.

Clint Eastwood's realism is the main power and force in this film. He whips you around with pictures so true that they become divine with truth and life together. And you better say thank you to the old man who is there to show the future in the past and the present in the visionary ranting and raving of the insane, and we are all insane somewhere, so we are all aware of the present, the past and the future, but 99.99% of these people are 200% sure death is the final end of life. Well, I am ready to bet it is not, though when I know I won't be able to cash my bet.

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Watching this movie made me wish for the hereafter
micheljrc23 October 2010
I thought Clint Eastwood never did bad movies so I was excited to go see this film. Based on the trailers, I had a feeling it could be a bad film but nonetheless with both Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood behind it, I decided to give it a try. Let's put it this way, the best part of the movie is the first 10 minutes, after that it's all downhill. Save your money and skip this movie. It is truly that awful. People that give this movie a 10 on IMDb must be connected to this movie. The story doesn't flow well, as if there is something missing, oh ya the story itself was missing. It's almost as if Clint himself forgot what he was directing from scene to scene. I never read the book but based on this movie, I never will. The editing is badly done too. One scene shows Matt Damon eating breakfast at his house, next scene shows people walking by a building, next scene goes to one of the other characters, then back to another character, then back to and outside shot, it was like this all the way thru. It was long, slow, and frankly pointless. Very disappointed with Clint on this one, guess he was due for a flop.
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A Real Snorer
dickklip22 October 2010
Unfortunately, director Clint Eastwood, who I admire tremendously, lays an egg with "Hereafter", and produces a film that you can snore your way through.

The thin plot centers around three characters and their stories: a French female reporter who has a near death experience; A twin who loses his twin to death; and a lonely factory worker who has a unique psychic ability to communicate with the dead, but is afraid to use it.

All three stories unwind very, very slowly and then merge at the end. While this takes place the action is very limited, the questions are many, and the answers are few. All characters seem to resolve their personal dilemmas by the picture's end, but the audience is still left with an empty feeling of loss at having wasted almost two hours watching this boring charade of a movie.

Like so many movies today, including "The American" this movie is truly a disappointment, given the hype in the trailers.
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