Hereafter Movie Review
HEREAFTER: WORTH THE EFFORT
Clint Eastwood touches on life after death with his film Hereafter. There are three who experience it in their own way. The story is slow moving but it pays off in the end. It is not one of Eastwood's best but it still makes for a better movie than most out there.
Marie Lelay (Cecile De France) is a Parisian news anchor who is on a tropical vacation with her boyfriend/producer (Thierry Neuvic). When a tsunami hits their resort, Marie is swept up in the wave and knocked unconscious. While out she sees people in the afterlife. When she comes to, she cannot shake the images. George Lonegan (Matt Damon) is a former psychic who now works construction in San Francisco. He sees his abilities as a curse while his brother Billy (Jay Mohr) sees them as a gift. He is constantly sending people to George so he can do readings for them. When George meets Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard), he has hope that all is behind him. That is until she asks him to do a reading. Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren) are twin brothers in London with an addict mother (Lyndsey Marshal). When their mother decides to clean herself up, Jason goes to pick up her medication that will help her. On his way home, he ends up being hit by a car and dies. This leads to Marcus being taken away from his mother and placed with foster parents. He becomes withdrawn and makes it his mission to find somebody that can talk to Jason.
Clint Eastwood doesn't go after soft topics. He has tackled child abuse and murder (Mystic River), gang violence (Gran Torino), and war (Flags of our Fathers). With Herafter he focuses on what happens after death. He doesn't give any answers, just channels these characters and their emotional journey while dealing with it. The story about Marcus is particularly heartbreaking. The plot about George is the worst of the three as it seems like he is floating through his life and then he meets a girl during a cooking class. The semi romance is a distraction at best. But each one is touching despite that and its slow pace. Cecile De France is a French actress who is unknown in the States. She is beautiful and a talented actress. She is subtle with Marie and how she addresses this life changing event. Matt Damon as George is lost and timid. He is always out of sorts in an endearing way. His interaction with Bryce Dallas Howard as Melanie is the only low point as she is silly and childish. When they are together everything seems forced. Twins Frankie and George McLaren are the highlight of Hereafter as Jason. He is stone faced after Marcus dies but his emotions betray him with his body hunched over or just a single tear falling. It is tear worthy when he starts to beg for his brother to not leave him. The special effects in the film are spectacular, especially in the opening scene when the tsunami hits. You will hold your breath as Marie struggles to hold the little girl's hand that she was just buying jewelry from a moment before. And each location (Paris, San Francisco, and London) are beautiful cities with beautiful architecture and landmarks.
Bryce Dallas Howard's character Melanie only diminishes George's story. It is a self serving ploy that is only there to play on the audience's emotions and rings insincere.
Hereafter is not Clint Eastwood at the top of his game. It lags and lets a silly subplot bring down the heart of the movie. But it is still a good movie with an ending that is fulfilling.