Review - Hereafter

Hereafter (PG-13), 2010, 129 minutes - Anyone who has followed any of my reviews in the various locations they have been posted on the web over the last couple of years knows by now that I'm a big Clint Eastwood fan. I was raised that way, blame the parents! So it should come as no surprise that I would be making a point to see his latest film on opening night.

Hereafter follows three diverging story lines while asking the question of what happens to us when we die? The film gets off to a quick start as Marie LeLay (a reporter/journalist played by Cecile De France) gets swept away in a tsunami. She becomes pinned on a fallen tree and a car smashes into her from behind as it is washed away. Two local men pull her from the water and try to resuscitate her with no luck. As they are distracted by a fire breaking out nearby, she comes to, not really sure of what she has just experienced.

The two other story lines follow Marcus and his twin brother Jason (played by Frankie and George McLaren) and George Lonegan (Matt Damon) respectively. Marcus and Jason live with their junkie mother and are constantly trying to deceive social services so that they are not taken away from her. Jason (the older brother by twelve minutes) is hit by a car as he trying to escape some neighborhood bullies while running an errand for their mom and dies. Marcus is lost without his older brother and ends up being put into foster care by social services.

George Lonegan is a psychic. Not a television or gimmicky psychic like Madame Cleo, but the real thing. He had a condition as a child and was lost and brought back a handful of times during the eight hour surgery he underwent. Since that time, he has had the ability to communicate with the dead. His brother (Jay Mohr) thinks that it is a gift and that George has an obligation to help people. What he doesn't see, is the dark, painful side of George's ability. Which is illustrated when he performs a reading for Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard), whom he met through the cooking class he is taking.

The plot device that pulls these three main characters (Mary, Marcus, George) together is a little convenient, but not too far fetched. Despite the focus on death and what may happen after we die, the real theme of the film is finding and doing what we need in order to be happy in life.

After the quick start, there are a couple pretty slow scenes, but they are included primarily in the name of character building and are worth it in the end. If you are like me and like just about anything that Clint Eastwood has his hands in, then definitely check this out. On the surface it appears quite a bit different from you typical Eastwood-directed fair, but at its core Hereafter is an excellently made, well acted film that makes you think.

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