Hereafter Review – Clint Eastwood’s New Film is Decent, Not Great

Folks, it’s no secret that we’re great fans of the actor and director Clint Eastwood and went into acute depression after his 2008 film Gran Torino failed to snag even a single Oscar nomination (goddamn it, JFK was right about life being unfair).

For some unfathomable reason, we did not see Eastwood’s subsequent film Invictus.

Eager to make amends for the slight we set forth to NYC the other day to see the old man’s latest shot at direction – Hereafter (Matt Damon, Cécile de France and Frankie and George McLaren).

The Afterlife
No sooner did we arrive in NYC, we rushed to AMC 25 on W.42nd St (between 7th Ave and 8th Ave) to see Hereafter.

We know most of our readers get their jollies only at the sight of Rajinikanth wooing a gal 35 years younger than him or one of those incompetent Bollywood Khans and the idea of watching an 80-year-old Hollywood director’s new movie is hardly enough to stimulate their cojones.

Be that as it may, our appetites were adequately whetted by the movie Hereafter.

Three Lives Changed
Hereafter is actually three different stories that alternate throughout the movie and come together toward the end.

There’s the pretty French TV journalist Marie Lelay (Cécile de France), who is in Thailand with her boss and lover.

Next, you have a San Francisco factory worker and ex-psychic George Lonegan (Matt Damon) who’s got the strange power of talking with the dead when his hand touches that of another and makes a ‘connection.’

While others rave about his abilities, George himself is unhappy about his unusual powers and once in a fit of anger laments to his older brother:

It’s not a gift, brother. It’s a curse. It ruins any chance of having a normal life. I feel like a freak.

Finally, you have the young twins in London, the quiet Marcus and chatterbox Jason with their alcoholic mother. One of the poignant moments in the film is the desperate bid by the twins to keep the family together in the face of the Social Services agency’s efforts to act against their mum for neglecting her children.

Dramatic Changes
Before long, the lives of all of our characters are changed dramatically.

A deadly tsunami strikes the Thai holiday resort where Marie is staying and she survives a near-death experience in the swirling waters.

After surviving the deadly waves of the tsunami, Marie is unable to focus on her work as she’s increasingly distracted by her experience and the hereafter.

George, a forklift operator at a factory, takes a cooking course, meets a nice girl Melanie with a possibility of a relationship, loses her after a reading, loses his job as well and then under persuasion from his brother agrees to reopen his psychic business but quickly changes his mind.

Tragedy strikes the twins too when Jason is killed in a road accident as he’s fleeing a pack of bullies.

Unhappy Souls
Three unhappy, restless souls fumbling, groping their way to find answers to their grief and pain.

Deeply affected by his sibling’s death and donning Jason’s cap, Marcus wanders from one charlatan psychic to another in hopes of communicating with his brother.

Marie stumbles on Live TV and lurches from writing one book to another while George too is adrift and leaves San Francisco.

The movie is an attempt at exploring death or near death and its effect on the survivors.

The acting, of course, is very strong. The young twins are amazing and easily win your heart.

Lyndsey Marshal in a short role as the twins’ mother is very effective, particularly in the Social Services office.

But the ending, the intersection of the three stories and the overall framework didn’t seem strong to us. Just didn’t resonate with us.

Further, there’s really not much of a look at the hereafter despite the bold title.

For all its imperfections, Hereafter is still a watchable movie and a welcome change from our usual diet of the Bollywood and Kollywood drivel.

Hereafter is in wide release now and playing across the U.S. Check Fandango or for the show-times.

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