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Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Hereafter”

(Warner Bros.  2 hours, 6 minutes.  Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images and brief strong language.  Directed by Clint Eastwood.)  Matt Damon (George Lonegan), Cecile de France (Marie Lelay), Jay Mohr (Billy Lonegan), Bryce Dallas Howard (Melanie), George and Frankie McLaren (Marcus/Jason), Thierry Neuvic (Didier), Marthe Keller (Dr. Rousseau), Richard Kind (Christos), Steven R. Schirripa (Carlo), Jenifer Lewis (Candace), Lyndsey Marshal (Jackie), Sir Derek Jacobi (Himself).  Music by Clint Eastwood.

Matt Damon sees dead people, and wishes he didn’t, in Eastwood’s supernatural triptych concerning people’s connections with death.  The three stories involve George, a formerly-successful psychic trying to give up his profession; Marie, a French journalist literally swept up in the 2004 tsunami (the depiction is amazing); and Marcus and Jason, twin boys who are affected by the 2005 London Underground bombings.

The compelling screenplay by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) keeps the stories separate for most of the way.  The audience does have to do a little work:  Marie’s story is mostly in French (subtitles, oh no!); George likes to relax by listening to audio books of Dickens, so we hear passages from David Copperfield and Little Dorrit  (literacy, how dare they!).  Bryce Dallas Howard is notable as a troubled woman Damon meets in an Italian cooking class (the bubbly chef is played by The Sopranos’ Steven Schirripa; at first you think he’s wandered into the wrong movie, and then you’re really glad he’s there).  Allow yourself to slow down to Eastwood’s pace, and you will be rewarded with many wonderful, poignant, sad, funny, and thought-provoking moments, and a conclusion that I can happily call “hopeful.”  The actor/director is now 80, and perhaps it’s understandable that he’s examining death.  But don’t worry, Clint’s not planning to go anywhere yet:  his next announced project is a biography of J. Edgar Hoover.  He’s going to need all his faculties for that one.