Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hereafter (2010) [PG-13] ***

Ever since childhood George Lonegan (Matt Damon) has had a gift. He's able to connect with a living person, and through them make a psychic connection with someone close to them who's recently passed away. But George thinks his gift is really a curse; he's stopped giving readings and now works at a warehouse job in San Francisco. Marie Lelay (Cécile de France) is a French celebrity journalist who experienced the 2004 Banda Aceh earthquake and tsunami. She had a near-death experience by drowning that shook her reality, and she's been trying to make sense of that experience. And Marcus (played by twins Frankie and George McLaren), a London schoolboy, recently lost his twin brother Jason in an automobile accident, and is desperately trying to make contact with him.

The search for the truth about the afterlife, what happens to us after we die, inevitably causes the lives of these three people to intersect and forever changes them. This is a thought-provoking film that asks each of us to consider the future that awaits each one of us... what happens after we die. The leading actors are uniformly excellent. Matt Damon delivers a subtly sensitive and convincing portrayal of a reluctant psychic who feels trapped by his gift. Cécile de France allows us to share her anguish as she recognizes the significance of her near-death experience, and grows determined to pursue her search for understanding. And the McLaren twins give us a pensive and resolute portrayal of Marcus' search for a connection with his brother. The supporting actors are also excellent, especially Jay Mohr as George's brother Billy, who is determined to manipulate George for his own profit and status, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Melanie, George's cooking class partner, who realizes too late that in a new relationship, some topics are better left unexplored.

The screenplay by talented and prolific Peter Morgan is taut and sparse. The direction by Clint Eastwood is sensitive, and the costumes and sets are somber and muted. There is little warmth and romance in this film, but, if the subject matter intrigues you, and you've enjoyed films like Heaven Can Wait, Somewhere in Time, Always, and City of Angels, then you will want to see Hereafter

Labels: drama, fantasy 
Internet Movie Database 
Metacritic 56/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=57, viewers=58) 

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