Hereafter is a dramatic film that has many elements that make it worth watching, its strongest being the storyline. Don’t’ be fooled by the trailer, if you are expecting an action flick it has been advertised wrong; it is about death and the possibility of an afterlife and trying to understand what happens after we die. The first scene does a nice job in taking you in and wanting to explore more, the fact that it is split into three stories carried out by completely different characters in various parts of the world makes it all the more interesting. The subject matter might make some skeptic and want to turn away; as well as the feeble romance which takes away from the film. The film does convey it’s message well which is to raise questions and curiosity no matter how you feel about the subject.
Hereafter deals with mortality and how three strangers who have completely different lives are affected by it. George (Matt Damon) has a gift or curse from which he’s desperately trying to get away from, Marie (Cécile de France) is completely happy with her perfect life until a near-death experience changes all of that and Marcus (George Mclaren & Frankie McLaren) has to face death as well as separation at a young age. We get a very in-depth look at each one of these characters lives and we get to comprehend each one of their stories which have death, mortality and loneliness as underlying themes that connect them. They each toy with the idea of an afterlife and each one is on a path that they have to travel alone and despite of having some family members or friends it is on this lonely journey that they find their answers or closure and are matured by the process.
The screenwriter Peter Morgan told us a funny story on how after a long process his script, which was inspired by a book he read and the loss of a friend, ended up on the hands of one of the executive producers Steven Spielberg; he then went on to give it to Clint Eastwood who decided to direct it. Eastwood’s name is all over the film, everything is so well thought out and organized that we can see it was done by a top notch director. Here he tried to work with special effects on a well developed sequence which runs through smoothly, but I would not say is the best CGI work I’ve ever seen; it could have been much better, throughout most of it you could pick out the CGI elements easily which took away from it. Also, the final scene has some of the corniest music i’ve ever heard; not only is it cheesy but it changes the storyline as well; I found the romance unnecessary and desperate for a happy ending. The twin brothers in this movie were amazing, knowing that they are non actors made me appreciate their scenes even more. Their story is so touching that it was hard to keep my eyes from watering, close enough to tearing. De France’s strong character shows us that after a storm the sun always comes out with some perseverance and she portrayed that beautifully. It was interesting to see Damon in such a ‘push-over’ role, most of the time he’s kind of being told what to do and he follows along; it shows the quality of his acting and how diverse it can be.
Besides posing questions the film teaches us one thing about death no matter what our beliefs are about it: we need to learn to let go and move on. I appreciated the film for kind of poking fun at one of the themes it promotes, but also because it shows us how deep human relationships go, how easily we are tied to one another and how hard it is to move on from that to be our own individual selves. It deals with the ‘hereafter’ not the idea of heaven or hell, so there’s more of a spiritual tie to it than religious which makes it easier to swallow.