Hereafter – Movie Review

Hereafter - Movie poster

Hereafter is a Clint Eastwood movie that doesn’t pretend to be something it is not. It doesn’t lead you in the pretense of it being a deep philosophical movie about our existence and what comes after we stop existing on Earth, etc.

The opening scene of the movie is movie-making at its best. If you’re not hooked on this when the first scene ends, then you must rewatch it.

The movie follows the lives of three characters. Cecile De France portrays Mary Lelay, a French journalist, had a close call with death while on a trip and is still haunted by what she went through. Marcus, a British teenager, loses his identical twin brother. George Lonegan (Matt Damon) doesn’t see dead people, but he can communicate with them, much to his discomfort. It’s a “gift” he decides not to use anymore, but eventually he comes to learn that you can’t escape it. Why? because everyone seeks answers.

The movie does not rely on twists and intricate plot details as much as it relies on character development. Whenever Eastwood jumps in location, you don’t feel disconnect with the characters, you delve into their story immediately and pick up where you had left them.

The performances are top-notch. Matt Damon invites you into his character and opens up his vulnerabilities for you to see. His need of belonging is very clear. There is one particular scene which involves tasting food while being blind-folded that shows how much he wants to be a part of something in his life. He has become so introverted that he needs to listen to Charles Dickens audiobooks to sleep.

Marcus, portrayed by one of the McLaren brothers, is so hung up on finding closure for his brother’s death that you are immersed in his sadness. And Cecile De France’s is hell-bent on finding answers and engages you in her quest. She is brought down by looks of people who think she’s out of her mind and her vulnerability clearly shows in such scenes.

Ultimately, Hereafter is not a movie about death as much as it is about life. It doesn’t preach you about the hereafter, but rather, it opens the possibility that something after life might exist, regardless of what it might be. It invites you to live life, live it fruitfully and abundantly.

10 thoughts on “Hereafter – Movie Review

  1. Im glad u agree with me on this one. Hereafter is Eastwood’s misunderstood masterpiece in my opinion. To be honest, I enjoyed it more than his oscar winning “Million Dollar Baby”. U should watch Mystic River if u havent yet. Eastwood is a legend, whether in front of the camera or behind it.

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    • I really liked the movie, yes 🙂 I thought it was very interesting, especially the way the issue at hand was handled.
      I actually have a pile of Clint Eastwood movies that I haven’t touched yet. Is Mystic River also based on the book by Dennis Lehane (author of Shutter Island)? if so, I’m highly interested. I’ve read Shutter Island (and figured out the ending with 200 pages remaining :p) and watched the movie, which I thought was absolutely brilliant.

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      • Im not sure if mystic river is also based on a book by Dennis Lehane, but either way, the movie is very good. I thought Shutter Island was fantastic aswell. Which Eatwood movies do u have?

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      • Million Dollar Baby is a good movie. Not great, but definitely good. Flags of our fathers is also good, but I absolutely loved its “sequel” “Letters From Iwo Jima”.

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  2. “Ultimately, Hereafter is not a movie about death as much as it is about life.”

    Spot on. The film has a serene quality to it that I find rather wonderful and in all sorts of ways it’s very much an arthouse picture. That it comes from a major Hollywood studio and that only Eastwood could have gotten away with something like this (as he did a few years back when he persuaded Warner to back a war film showing the Japanese in a sympathetic light to be made entirely in their language) is testament to the clout Eastwood enjoys not to mention his impressive fearlessness as an artist.

    I loved Hereafter’s feel both for character and place. The scene where Cecile deFrance pitches a book proposal about Mitterand to a political publisher is a wonderful example of Eastwood’s love for his characters. It’s not about plot but about soaking in the details of these people’s lives. Eastwood is an amazing director.

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    • I agree with this too. I thought the movie was definitely unconventional in the sense that it’s tackling an issue many in Hollywood do not feel needs to be tackled.
      A new movie that’s released this week in theaters is “Soul Surfer”, one that has Christian messages and critics are panning it because of those messages, something I find to be utterly ridiculous. Others, who are more appreciative, are saying it’s a great movie about the importance of faith in overcoming hurdles.

      Anyway, I definitely can see the extent Eastwood has gone to in order to get to direct this movie and he has done a very good job at it. The character development is meticulous and very impressive, as you said.

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  3. “Million Dollar Baby is a good movie. ”

    Actually I think it’s a great movie, Eastwood’s best film, one of the best American movies of the decade and one of the all time great Best Picture/Director winners.

    Other major Eastwood films worth seeking out: The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), The Gauntlet (1977), Bird (1988), his Iwo Jima diptych (2006), White Hunter, Black Heart (1990), The Bridges of Madison County (1995) and the curiously underrated Changeling (2008).

    One of the things you’ll find as you explore this man’s work is just how versatile he is, working in a wide variety of genres yet able to adapt to each with ease while putting his own stamp on the material.

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    • I will look into them.
      Many people have told me they were let down by “Million Dollar Baby”. But I definitely need to watch it when I have time.
      Thank you for the suggestions 🙂

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