Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Hereafter

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images, and for brief strong language
Profanity:Brief strong language
Nudity/Sex:Mild
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, character is a heroin addict
Violence/Scariness:Intense and disturbing images of tsunami and violent death, themes of devastating loss
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:October 22, 2010
DVD Release Date:March 15, 2011

According to this movie the two universal human imperatives are the need to find out whether we can contact the dead and the need to use Google to do so. Can we please de-Google-ize movies? I love Google, too, but it is impossible to make a compelling movie scene out of someone typing into a search engine and scrolling through the links that pop up. 

Clint Eastwood’s latest film is a meditation on death, with three entwined stories. A French journalist survives the tsunami but is haunted by visions from an NDE (near-death experience). An English boy sees his twin brother die and desperately tries to find a way to communicate with him. And an American factory worker resists his gift for acting as a conduit between the living and the dead. There are some powerful and moving moments, but the film overstays its welcome and fails to deliver on its promise.

There are people who are consumed with the need to talk with those they have lost, to ask forgiveness, to forgive, to know there is something, someone there. And then there are those who do communicate with the dead, and can be just as consumed with the need to get away from them, whose most important lesson from those who have passed over is that they need to make a life among the living. George (Matt Damon) is one of those. He once had a website and a business doing “readings” for those who want to reach out to their loved ones who had departed. A book was written about him. He appeared on television. But the comfort he brought to those who found some sense of completion in his ability to connect to the dead was outweighed by his own inability to disconnect from the messages he was carrying.

Then there is Marie (Cécile De France), a successful French television journalist on vacation with her producer/boyfriend on an Indonesian resort when the tsunami hits. This is Eastwood as his best, a stunningly powerful sequence that will leave the audience feeling swept into the pounding power of the ocean. Marie glimpses a vision of what might be the afterlife when she is briefly near death. After she returns to France the concerns that occupied her before — her ambitions, the stories she covers, even her relationship — are not as important to her as understanding what she saw and what it means. When once she was excited to appear in posters for Blackberry, now she is interested in a more profound form of communication.

Jason and Marcus (both played by George and Frankie McLaren, a nice touch to show their close connection) are British twins who are exceptionally devoted to one another. They have to be. Their mother is a heroin addict, so they have to work together to take care of her and of each other and keep the social workers from finding out what is really going on in their home. Jason, 12 minutes older, is the more verbal and the decision-maker. He is killed and Marcus sees him die. He is put in foster care while his mother goes to rehab. He is alone. And he needs, desperately, to find a way to talk to the brother who is in every way the other half of himself. He tries a number of psychics but they all seem to be well-meaning fools or downright fakes.

Nothing that happens later in the movie lives up to the inexorable, thundering, power of the tsunami, which makes the under-imagined images of the afterlife seem thin and tepid. Eastwood’s own score (he is an accomplished jazz musician) is nicely understated and evocative. And it was a relief that the heroin-addict mother and the foster parents were not Dickensian ogres. But the stories meander. The movie could lose half an hour easily — until they all come together for a conclusion that feels inadequate. When a magician shows you a hat, you are entitled to see a rabbit. No rabbit here.



  • Shary

    The title of this movie is misleading. More than anything else, it’s about down-in-the-mouth George’s anguish over being psychic. The story itself, or rather the three interwoven stories, are downright boring, save for the tsunami scenes, and the ending is a complete disappointment. The one bright note is Marie (Cecile de France), who manages to light up the screen with her not-quite-beautiful face and engaging smile. One wonders what Damon is doing in this film; one also wonders what someone like Eastwood is doing directing it. Maybe he should retire. There’s nothing in this movie that a high schooler couldn’t handle, although I can’t imagine why they’d want to waste their time on it.

Previous Posts

Listen to People's Lives: David Plotz's Working Podcast
Former Slate editor David Plotz, now at Atlas Obscura, says that he is a big fan of Studs Terkel's classic book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. He has paid tribute to that great work in the best possible way, by updating it with his podcast seri

posted 3:59:23pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Little Orphan Annie: From Comic Strip to Radio, Broadway, Television, and Two Movies
The spunky little girl with the curly red hair and a dog named Sandy began as Little Orphan Annie in 1924, created by Harold Gray.  Her pluck, self-sufficiency, and resilience cau

posted 8:00:48am Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

A Trailer for A Movie You'll Never See: Moonquake Lake with Mila Kunis and Rihanna
"Moonquake Lake" has a lot of star power behind it -- "LEGO Movie" directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Rihanna. And it looks....intriguing, some sort of "Twilight"-style supernatural teen romance. It just isn't real. "Moonquake Lake" is a movie with

posted 3:54:43pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

New Additions to the National Film Registry: 2014
The Library of Congress has announced this year's additions to the National Film Registry. 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant titles are added each year, under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act. The films must be at least 10 years old. The Librarian makes

posted 12:34:12pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Black Reel Awards Nominations 2014
One of the great pleasures of this time of year is voting for so many of my favorite filmmakers as a part of the Black Reel Awards. Thanks, as ever, to Tim Gordon for allowing me to participate. I think it is fair to say we had more and better choices this year than we ever have before. Here are

posted 9:14:29am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.