Idol Chatter

Critics are abuzz with praise for Clink Eastwood’s newest film, ‘Hereafter,’ which just released in New York City on Friday. But I have to say, as much as I respect this actor and his moviemaking sensibilities, when I first saw the trailer for ‘Hereafter’ I cringed, winced, then cringed some more, all before it was revealed to viewers that Eastwood was behind this cheesy, little trip to heaven. Then I almost choked.I thought to myself, Clint Eastwood? Really?! Eastwood is the last person I would imagine to walk down a path similar to Jennifer Love Hewitt, of the “I see dead people” variety in ‘Ghost Whisperer.’ That Matt Damon (Matt Damon of all people) would be taking such a turn on the big screen doesn’t seem to fit either. The trailer seemed straight out of such eye-roll inducing, Lifetime movie, pulpy “spiritual” fare.Am I alone in reacting this way? Yet the critics are out trying to convince skeptics like myself to give ‘Hereafter’ a fair chance, especially since it comes with such a strong pedigree. In Charles McGrath’s recent essay about the film, “Eastwood Breaks Another Mold,” in The New York Times, comments that Eastwood “has never seemed remotely spiritual,” and asks whether, “Mr. Eastwood, famously flinty and cold-eyed, at long last gone squishy?” Yes, exactly, I was thinking when I read this question. Eastwood tells McGrath that, basically, ‘Hereafter’ was his chance to deal with one of life’s and religion’s biggest questions:””Is there an afterlife? What’s it like? All the great religions have tried to deal with these questions.” [Eastwood] added that what he liked about the script is that “it has a spiritual feeling without any particular religious touch.””Perhaps its Eastwood’s age (he is eighty now) that is provoking such interest in the afterlife, which would be understandable. I still don’t know if I can get over my aversion to the film’s subject matter. No matter how pedigreed it may be, I cringe when I watch this trailer. Do you?

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