Movie Review: Hereafter

Movie – Hereafter

Director:  Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima)

Screenwriter: Peter Morgan (The Last King of Scotland, The Queen, Frost/Nixon)

Starring: Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, The Bourne Identity, The Departed), Cecile De France (High Tension, Around the World in 80 Days, L’auberge espagnole)

Theater – Cinemark Movies 12 – Ames, Iowa

Companion – Nader Parsaei

Food – King Buffet

Intellectual Honesty

I love Clint Eastwood movies.  I love movies that he is in, but I love movies he directs even more.  I consider Unforgiven to be the greatest western ever made.  I’ve been a sucker for Matt Damon movies ever since Good Will Hunting. That reminds me that I still need to buy Good Will Hunting on Blu-Ray. This is one of the movies I’ve been most excited for all year.


I don’t think I carried any into the theater with me actually.


A drama centered on three people who are haunted by mortality in different ways. George (Damon) is a blue-collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. On the other side of the world, Marie (de France), a French journalist, has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when Marcus (Frankie/George McLaren), a London schoolboy, loses the person closest to him, he desperately needs answers. Each on a path in search of the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what they believe might-or must-exist in the hereafter.


This is a truly great movie.  I read some reviews complaining that this movie has a new age view of death.  I would not consider that a valid criticism.  The movie doesn’t reveal any theories about what life after death is like.  It very clearly states that it doesn’t know.  You know what?  Nobody else knows either.

From a Christian perspective, I have no clue where this view that heaven will involve bouncing on clouds and playing harps came from.  But it isn’t in The Bible. In fact, The Bible doesn’t say much about heaven besides it was created by God, is everlasting and is immeasurable.

So while Hereafter’s depiction of life after death doesn’t include clouds, pearly gates and harps, it isn’t a new age view of heaven.  Its view of life after death is consistent with everything we truly know about what life after death is like.  Which is to state that we know nothing.

Matt Damon is great (as usual) as George a psychic who can make a connection with the dead.  His brother Billy (played by Jay Mohr)  pushes him constantly to go into business to use his gift to make money.  George repeatedly tells him that this ability to talk to the dead isn’t a gift.  It is a curse.  A curse that makes any chance at a normal and/or happy life impossible.

This point is brought painfully home when George meets a woman at a cooking class.  There relationship is advancing when she finds out he can talk to the dead.  In one of the best scenes in the movie (a movie filled with great scenes) she begs him to give her a reading.  When George finally relents, he connects with her father who apologizes for molesting her as a child.

Even though she tells them that they are still “okay”, she stops coming to cooking class, essentially ending their relationship.

In addition to George’s story, the film also follows two other stories.

The second is the story of French report Marie. She drowns in the tsunami that his Indonesia in 2004.  She is brought back to life, but she can’t forget about what she experienced when she was dead.  She tries to return to her normal life, but rather than being able to concentrate on politics, she becomes infatuated with her near death experience.  It tears up her life as her co-workers and boyfriend treat her as if she is insane.

The third is the story of Marcus.  Marcus and his twin brother Jason take care of themselves and their drug addicted mother.  Jason is killed on the way back from the pharmacy with medicine for his mother. This leaves Marcus completely alone in the world. He is placed in foster care and becomes infatuated with contacting Jason.

Marcus’ story is perhaps the most heartbreakingly beautiful in a collection of stories that are all beautiful and well… heartbreaking. I normally despise child actors, but Frankie and George McLaren are wonderful.

The movie concludes when all 3 stories intertwine at a Book Fair in London.

Without revealing the ending, it was very satisfying.

This is just a very hauntingly beautiful movie that deals with a very serious subject in an intelligent way.

My only criticism of this film is that I wish they would have also explored the issue on whether or not it is even right to make money on George’s curse.  George’s brother is very excited about making money on this “gift”. He even refers to it as a duty. George runs from this duty because it has ruined his life. But I would have liked to have seen the issue of whether or not it is even a duty explored a little bit more.  Furthermore, if you have this kind of gift, is it right to commercialize it?

If you are wondering, I consider John Edward to be a fraud, but also about the biggest scumbag on this planet.


4.0/5 Caramels

Buy on DVD


2010 Ranking

#3 – Behind The Social Network and Inception.  Right above How to Train Your Dragon.

Bonus Information

We were late to the theater, so we didn’t get our customary seats in the last row.  That was kind of a bummer. Saw the preview for the True Grit remake again.  I’m definitely getting excited for it.

Up Next

Red.  Then maybe Megamind or Conviction or Waiting for Superman.