Hereafter a profound meditation on death and life
Pensive, thoughtful and moving, Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter is a meditation on the unknown and a fervent declaration of hope. Telling three stories that ultimately converge, the film seeks to examine not so much what we think might happen after we die but rather the sense of blind faith we adhere to in order to live.
Matt Damon, giving a poignant understated performance, is George Lonegan, a haunted man who’s been cursed with the ability to communicate with the dead. Though his brother Billy (Jay Mohr) views this skill as a blessing and a sure moneymaker, he’s callous towards the emotional effects this has on his only sibling. Meanwhile, French television reporter Marie LeLay (Cecile de France) is trying to make sense of a near-death experience she had after being caught in the path of a tsunami. Even more tragic is the case of Marcus (Frankie McLaren) a young boy living in England who’s desperate to communicate with his recently departed twin Jason (George McLaren).
While some of Eastwood’s films suffer from a languid sense of pacing – and Hereafter DOES take its time – the tone here is contemplative. As these three search for some sense of peace, the film allows us to consider what each is going through and connect with them. The characters are deliberately isolated – physically and metaphorically – throughout most of the film as each of them is on a journey that must be traveled alone. In a sense, Eastwood allows us to eavesdrop on them as they come to terms with how to go on living their lives in the face of uncertainty.
The result is a deeply personal and intimate experience that’s rare in films today. Eschewing religious views and refusing to cast judgment on anyone’s beliefs, Eastwood and screenwriter Peter Morgan prompt us to contemplate our own thoughts on these matters and compel us to make our own journey towards finding answers that give us peace. And as the film’s three stories effortlessly converge, Hereafter posits that fate places us precisely where we need to be at all times. It’s hard to argue with this notion when it’s presented in such a confident and moving manner as it is here.
Contact Chuck Koplinski at email@example.com.