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Movie Review: Hereafter

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You will meet a tall, dark psychic in the Hereafter. Clint Eastwood has done it again and adds to his film hit-list by creating another gifted genre movie about an uneasy psychic George Lonegan (Matt Damon).  Peter Morgan’s screenplay fares well under Eastwood’s direction.The film follows the lives of three individuals in different cities in different countries, seeking answers to life’s greatest paradox: is there life after death? The seekers have never met and, on the face of it, are not a part of the same equation.

George, the loner, worries about job security in San Francisco. In France, Marie Lelay (Cecile De France), the journalist, fears the boot by France’s biggest publisher Didier (Thierry Neuvic) and worries about her job security. In London a mom worries about keeping her job as mother to identical twins Marcus/Jason (Frankie McLaren and George McLaren ). Clint’s job is to connect this people bazaar with karmic ties that land them in the same city meet-up at the end.

Death-and-loss themes run through this film, but Eastwood is reassuring his audience while raising directly the possibility of death at every age. He introduces the idea of reincarnation or rebirth.  Here Clint paints with flat finish rather than a shiny one that only a psychic can divine. Speaking of divine – God does not have a role in Hereafter. He is never mentioned nor is there love for Asia after the tsunami. No eating in George’s cooking class in Frisco and just a wisp of praying at a funeral in London.  

So how does Eastwood introduce reincarnation and life after death? One way is through George. He is obsessed with and falls asleep to the readings of Charles Dickens. That love changes his life in unexpected ways. And where does George get this ability in the first place? He explains it as an operation gone badly. Simultaneously, in France, there’s talk of a “silent conspiracy” against those who make clinical studies of the NDE or near-death experience.

The recreation of the December 26, 2004, tsunami is a heavy piece of history that most recall. The tsunami event, in an unnamed city, explores the NDE in beautiful sequences. Here Marie dies and recalls something while she is gone – a very hazy vision and feeling of floating.  Is that all? I did not get it. I found it to be no more than a mediator’s forgotten dream experience, unconvincing, nice try.

This film is set in the present and is more about how distraction or obsession with death is not a way to win friends or influence people. Life moves upside down for the three protagonists: a young twin will lose his brother, a French journalist will lose her job, and George’s dock job will dry up. He tries to take up a normal life and new line of work, but can’t escape his calling to talk to the dead.

What conclusions does Clint profess? He presents nothing different from what most orthodox religions believe: that people go somewhere but can still be reached somehow by the right psychic. In this case, George needs only to hold hands to make an instant connection to pivotal events in a person’s life. Some  unnerved while others beg for his touch.

I have to tell you that Matt’s George is a beautifully nuanced performance. He is an ordinary person with an extraordinary gift: connecting to the dearly departed. While there is nothing original about Eastwood’s premise that the dress rehearsals for death (aka NDEs) are new. I do not find much merit in the so-called NDE. So why dwell on it?  

On the other hand, in Clint’s film the NDE does not even make sense to this psychic. In fact, I know that the only way that people can have the type of karmic ties portrayed in Hereafter is if they were forged in former lives. That is my problem with this film from a spiritual point of view. I think Clint should have been a little bolder in addressing reincarnation and take a more critical look at the NDE instead of this uncertain approach to a certain event – death.


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About Heloise

  • Me!

    Geez…thought this was a movie review site, my mistake! Beware of exploding heads!!! And above all things…DON’T critique the critic! Or better said, do so at your own peril! Good job, Alicia! I think she’s spent too much time in the occult and is stuck somewhere between the “past life and present life”! I envy you, Heloise…I wish I knew more than everyone, concerning everything, every time… no, check that, it’d be too hard to be so perfect! I think I’ll find a ‘real’ movie review site! Thanks for the laugh though! 8D

  • David

    The worst movie I have seen since Random Hearts. Both start with brilliant set pieces. What followed was two hours of intense tedium.

  • kmom

    Wow!! Heloise…Alicia pointed out 9 inaccuracies of your review and you can only make 1 rebuttal? Ha Ha!! and Alicia was much more “spot on” than you, yes I just watched the movie (maybe you should watch it)….your ego is making you look like an absolute joke!! thanks for the laughs! ha, ha!!

  • No, I am not insecure but a victim of those who have never been exposed to culturally diverse texts.

    Where is your body of reviews? My review mirrors the movie as I’ve said before. There’s your answer to what’s it all about.

    One more ugly commenter notch to my belt.

  • CDS

    The review was about as boring as the Movie.
    In the theater some napped and others simply walked out. The reviewer has grandiose delusions and attacking people who don’t like the review shows serious insecurity.

  • Patricia

    Please, I recomend people that are seeking answers and not fights to ask on youtube What is Spiritism? Its a collection of questions that might help everyone in a nice, instructive and peaceful way

  • heloise

    awful spelling, awful name.

  • nobody

    Awfull movie and a poor review.


    Not as smart as you think you are?

    Great comeback!!!

  • net

    Semantics, polemics what’s your point? I am the one who was bullied by the comments.

    I did not ask for comments per se. Why are people cherry picking this review for trashing? All my reviews are like this.

    I could care less where you have gone or how old you are.

  • Alicia

    You write a blog. You ask for comments. So you are going to get people’s opinions you don’t like. Just act like an adult about it and don’t bully your readers.

    I have a passport. Have been out of the country numerous times and did a mission trip in Russia. So I am not a youngster.

    Also, I am not dumb. You know that or you would have come up with a better reply when I pointed out the inaccuracies inq your review. The best you could come up with is that you travel? And that Americans have less passports than Eurooeans?
    Come on lady!!!

  • Americans are the only ones who don’t have passports in high numbers. Europeans all have passports and visit other countries all the time. Only Americans stay put.

  • Well Alicia, I guess I am not normal. I did exactly that, left my family and went to India TWICE and lived a summer in Paris!

    Alicia you obviously have a lot to learn and I know you are probably a youngster. My nickname is “NET” get it?

    PS: Don’t TELL me what to DO or how to do it. When I want your opinion as a writer I will ask for it.


  • Alicia

    If you can’t handle people politely pointing out inaccuracies or diagreeing with you, maybe you should not writer in a public forum.

    You are extremely negative and have a bully attitude towards anyone who disagrees with you.

    PS- I don’t know many people who are normal that leave their families behind and go to another country.
    Also people who swear a lot is a huge sign of insecurity. If you want to come off being a secure person and be taken seriously, stop swearing!

  • I’ve been into the occult and studying members of my family journey from past life to present life before most of you keybored critics were even born!

  • My review is perfect, don’t F it up with your rewrite. Going to another country is part of a normal life. I’ve done it many times. He was into Charles Dickens, hence London.

    It did not say he was running away to England and never coming back or anything of the sort.

  • lela sassen

    I enjoy Matt and think Eastwood was wasted in front of the camera, so very talented behind it. I predict I will see this movie and enjoy it…:)


    You will meet a tall, dark psychic in the Hereafter.
    *Matt Damon is Not tall 5’10” is average, he is pale and as to whether or not he is handsome is debatable.

    The film follows the lives of three individuals in different cities in different countries, seeking answers to life’s greatest paradox: is there life after death?
    *The character Matt Damon plays is NOT seeking the answer to this question. The other 2 characters are.

    George, the loner, worries about job security in San Francisco.
    *George is not worried about job security. In fact there is a scene where a co-worker says that 30% of the employees are going to be let go. He did not act concerned and he took the severance package voluntarily. George leaves the country because he does not want to start a “company” doing readings for people with his brother. And he said in the letter to his brother that he did not know when he would be back. That does not spell being worried about job security to me.

    In France, Marie Lelay (Cecile De France), the journalist, fears the boot by France’s biggest publisher Didier (Thierry Neuvic) and worries about her job security.
    *Marie took time off to write a political book, then changed her mind and wrote about her NDE. The publicist did not like it, but she didnt seem worried. In fact the publicist called her back THAT very evening and said that he felt bad about their reaction to her book and that he had made phone calls and found 2 publicists that were interested in her book. One English, and One American. It worked out for her. Marie was not worried and did not act worried.

    In London a mom worries about keeping her job as mother to identical twins Marcus/Jason (Frankie McLaren and George McLaren ).
    *I snort-laughed when I read this line! This mother was a drugged out drunk. She didnt care about her job as a mother. The twins cared about her and took care of her so that child services would not take them away from her. Child services had been there numerous times and it was the twins who covered for her.

    Speaking of divine – God does not have a role in Hereafter.
    *You must have been at the bathroom for this scene that can be the only reason to explain this comment. Marcus skipped lunch during school and went to use a computer and looked up info about life and death. He was on YouTube and saw several videos one referring to Allah, and the other referring to God in the Catholic sense.

    No eating in George’s cooking class
    *Ummmm…..what did you think they were doing when they had the blindfolds on and were tasting food? I believe that is called eating.

    but Eastwood is reassuring his audience while raising directly the possibility of death at every age. He introduces the idea of reincarnation or rebirth.
    *There was not apparent aspect of this. Marie and George reinvent themselves, I would not call this a rebirth.

    and George’s dock job will dry up. He tries to take up a normal life and new line of work, but can’t escape his calling to talk to the dead.
    *Leaving the country and not telling your brother when you will be back is not a “normal life”. George actively tells people that he will not help them anymore and doesnt. Until Marcus follows him to his hotel and stands outside for hours. Then George helps him make contact with his brother.

    Just a couple of things that I found to be inaccurate!

  • feel free to list them here, Alicia


    Anyone who disagees with you should not even read what you have to say. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and allowed to express their opinions with out being bullied by the Author of the review. I have to wonder if you even saw the movie. I just came out of seeing it and a lot of what you write is NOT even accurate.

    Also, just who do you think you are stating Mr. Eastwood will be consulting you in the near future? Dont think so babe. Your ego is huge and it needs checked at the door.

    Also, I would be more than happy to point out all of the inaccuracies in your review. Would you like my help? Or should I just save it for my own blog? Cheers!

  • Davora

    I am a psychic medium & this movie brought tears to my eyes. It sheds a light on the stigma & the way mediums are thought of by the general public. I became a sensitive after my 26 year old son committed suicide. Some kind of chemical change occurs in in the brain of those who go through such an event & you can never be the person you were before. When you suffer such a loss -you need assurance that life goes on. My religion offered little comfort at this critical time in my life. So I had to find out the truth for myself. I can relate to to the character in the movie – the mother who was so desperate to connect with her dead daughter. I think Matt Damon portrayed what a real medium goes through – from the jolt that can actually be felt when a connection is made to the exact area of of the brain that is activated in a medium. On behalf of all mediums out there, I want to say thank you to Clint Eastwood for explaining to the world what we go through every day.

  • Walter

    I came here on site to read reviews. I read comments of people ‘speaking their mind’. I cannot believe the author with her ‘bully’ attitude towards others responding to the article by using her education status by making herself more superior.
    Only superior persons can handle critics.
    I’ll make a deal. I’ll return to this website if you go back to poetry.
    Have a good day!

  • Rihanna thank you. You get it. My ambigious review mirrors the movie. I did not blast or slam the movie because it did not meet up to my insider Buddhist knowledge which is considerable. Clint did a good job. When he is ready, before he dies hopefully, to make a truly insider’s look at life after death he will need me. As a former president, I still have a big F*&(in ego.

  • Debbie I don’t get your comment. Can you break it down for me.

  • There was NO sex in the film, a dreamy kiss only. My review nails this film. I am not Juan and you are not NPR censors.

  • Dingo take your seat next to the dumbos. I am a poet. I have reread it and IF YOU see the movie you will see that my review is spot on perfectly nails it. I think you all have not read my other many many intellectual reviews. Read A Serious Man review for example, it mirrors the movie. I have written over 200 articles for BC and I ain’t about to dumb em down for you.

    Clint will come calling.

  • Debbie

    Heloise, you put into words a counterpoint to what struck me about this movie – the ambiguity about the near death experience and beyond was preferable to a ‘bold’ interpretation of the subject. I find it a personal topic, and not one to be shown by Clint’s direction, or any other human, what it will eventually be.

  • Rhiannon

    i thought this review was very understandable. we all struggle internally to understand what is not understandable. This movie was very very… ambiguous and the only way to do it justice can be ambiguity. If your going to be rude dont speak at all.

  • hillcoguy, try to learn how to speak about movies without spoiling them for others

  • hillcoguy

    Wow! A hornets nest….and as always, one who tries to controll everyone elses opinions! No matter, I loved the film! Was there gratuitous sex? Only if a single passionate kiss is such. Was there violence? Just the death of a child by several bullying boys and the terrorist bombing…both things that are in todays headlines. Lonely people with a strong need, finding each other by accident, or was it by design?? Clint Eastwood has really come into his own. The man is brilliant and was it his piano playing? Bet it was.

  • Dingo

    Errol and Mary are right. You wrote a very ineffectual review. Neither of them have to write anything buzz worthy… you didn’t, and critiquing isn’t their job, it’s yours. You did it badly. Don’t obsess over it and fight the commenters. Take a step back, reread it, and try to see where they’re coming from. Then, next time, write a more effective, and clear review. Also, check the ego at the door.

  • Doug you can just join Mary and Errol in my estimation.

  • doug m.

    The reviewer tries to be clever but isn’t. Damon is neither tall nor dark.

    And why would Clint come to you about anything? What an ego. But I thank you for the laugh.

  • What have you two written that is buzz-worthy lately?

  • Mary you are quite contrary aren’t you? I am not Juan and you are not NPR. I can express my OPINION and NOT like the comments. I like my review…thank you very much. Poets often write between the lines and that is where you must read it. Geez, I am having a bad day and you two just made it worse.

  • Mary

    Heloise, I’m sorry but I agree with Errol. You were indifferent in your review. And why in the world would Clint Eastwood consult you? If you are going to write a review or write at all in a public forum, you should be able to handle comments and not blast the other person for their views.

  • What’s more how dare you? I held a blog on just this very subject and wrote book and verse about life and death. And studied Buddhism who are the masters of transition while conscious. What I am really saying is that Clint needs to consult me next time. That is what I am really saying if you need to know. Otherwise keep your uneducated comments to yourself.

  • Errol your name should be error. I said that Matt gave an excellent nuanced performance. The whole point is that the film was not in your face and therefore this review reflects the kind of film.

    I don’t have to try to sound intellectual. I write the words that come to my mind. Call that what you will. I said that Clint did it again, making another HIT film. Can you read my friend?

  • Errol

    I’m not sure what the reviewer was trying to communicate in her review but it seemed to be disappointment with the film or was it? I can’t tell what she was trying to communicate. I have to say, if you don’t like the movie, say so. Don’t dance around the bush trying to sound intellectual when it’s beyond your reach.
    How about simply saying that Clint’s direction was good, bad or indifferent? The actors gave good, bad or indifferent performances. Finally, the movie was good, bad or indifferent. Now, was that hard?