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3.8 out of 5 stars216
3.8 out of 5 stars
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What an amazing film, so different from what I expected. Matt Damon shows he really can act 'normal' roles - if you call this a normal role that is. The film itself is well written and perfectly directed by Clint Eastwood, who incidentally wrote the piano theme that runs through the film.

At first you cannot really see where the connection with the three stories will happen, then about half way through it begins to make more sense. I won't give anything away as the story needs to be seen and felt. All I will say is that this is not a film to watch once and store away, it is a film to watch again and again.

Someone called it the film of the year, I feel I am beginning to agree as it knocks spots of anything else released at the time.
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on 3 February 2011
Hereafter is a European art-house movie with Hollywood production values.
It's yet another Eastwood movie that ranks as the best American film of the
year because it engages both heart and mind with its tale of three individuals
in different parts of the world disconnected from life by a brush with death.

In Asia, famous French TV reporter Marie (a luminous Cecile deFrance) briefly
dies during a horrific natural disaster and has a vision of what she suspects
may be the afterlife. Back home she can't get the experience out of her mind
and her obsession threatens her high-flying career and friendships. In San
Francisco, lonely, middle-aged factory worker George (Matt Damon) can apparently
talk to the dead but his 'gift' makes it impossible for him to form relationships
with anybody. Finally, on a grim housing estate in South London, young twins
Marcus and Jason (George & Frankie McClaren) try to fend off social workers from
taking their druggie Mum (Lyndsey Marchal) away. But when tragedy strikes, Marcus
loses the brother he always depended on and that need drives him into the arms of
charlatans promising contact with the dead.

This is Eastwood's quietest film and one of his very best. The director has
always exhibited a fondness for emphasising character over plot but here he
goes further than ever before, luxuriating in the lives and surroundings of
these three very different people. Hereafter has almost no plot, a third of
it is subtitled, there's no villain, the film asks questions without supplying
answers, the actors don't 'act' in any showy Hollywood sense of the term, the
most spectacular sequence comes right at the start instead of at the end, and
death is the starting point for both the characters and the story rather than
the climax.

All things that are clearly going to alienate a section of the movie-going
public simply because they're so unaccustomed to experiencing that. And yet
the same film features three ordinary people - not the buffed up superheroes
of so much contemporary American cinema - the mood isn't one of overriding
anger or self-pity (again, as so much modern American cinema tends to be) but
compassionate and thoughtful, kind of contemplative, and in its quietness
remarkably compelling. As the American critic Roger Ebert said, it induces in
the viewer something akin to the feeling of a reverie.

The actors are extraordinary. Matt Damon gives the best performance I've ever
seen from him. His lonely factory worker who aches for human contact and goes
to sleep listening to Dickens audio books is so heartfelt you find yourself
completely rooting for him but at the same time it's a totally unshowy
performance. That same low key quality applies in fact to the whole cast.
Cecile deFrance, looking a little like a young Julie Christie, is simply
terrific here, both intelligent & vulnerable, and the McClaren twins
have a rawness and authenticity that just works.

The craft side is equally impressive with the film moving smoothly between the
three story lines in 15 min chunks thanks to Eastwood's ace editors Joel Cox
and Gary Roach. Tom Stern's excellent photography gives each setting - Paris,
San Francisco and London - a distinct look and on the musical side Eastwood
himself contributes a lovely and sparingly used piano piece.

Those fearing some sort of preachy Hollywood confection about the afterlife
needn't worry. Even the exact nature of George's talent is ambiguous. We never
see him talking to an apparition, nor does he convey any warnings or
premonitions from beyond the grave. There's none of that. In fact if you watch
carefully you'll note that George tells his subjects nothing they don't already
know or could have imagined themselves. Revealingly, what messages he does
deliver all reinforce screenwriter Peter Morgan's key point; that there's no help
to be had from the dead, we're on our own and what matters are the love and the
connections we forge with others in this life.

Morgan's script gives short-shrift to both organised religion and the network
of New Age frauds who profit from people's misery. One of the more amusing
sequences shows Marcus visiting a succession of con men 'psychics' each of
whom offers increasingly ludicrous methods of contact with the dear departed.
Yet if all that sounds coldly secular and atheist Eastwood's film is deeply
sympathetic toward the need for those who've lost loved ones - who've ever
wondered what happens when we die - to voice their thoughts, and skewers a
materialistic western culture that fears and sidelines anyone who does.

Hereafter doesn't say there is an afterlife. On that point it is ambiguous but
in that ambiguity resides a genuine sense of mystery. It doesn't pretend to
have answers but simply asks the questions and it does so with intelligence and
compassion. It tells a story about lonely hearts under the shadow of death yet
comes down on the side of life, love and simple human connection - not with
ghosts - but with each other. I loved it.
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on 16 March 2013
Hereafter begins with a vivid depiction of the december '04 South Asian Tsunami. French Journalist Marie (Cecile de France) survives it, and undergoes a near death experience, which changes her.
Then it switches to London, and, later, depicts one of the 7/7/05 terrorist bombings.
But it's not an action film. Or a ghost story. Some people don't like it, perhaps partly because it accepts spiritual life after physical death as a reality, which not everyone is comfortable with, or willing to believe without 'definite proof'.
It alludes to allegations of a conspiracy amongst the scientific establishment, to cover up known evidence of an afterlife.
Also it features obviously fake, and/or nutty 'mediums', so not suggesting they are all genuine.
It's certainly sad, though I did not find it depressing, and it ends promisingly for at least two of its three main characters, one of whom is a child.
Some of the dialogue is in French with subtitles. It's definitely not aimed at a typical teenage audience, but if you like intelligent, thoughtful, interesting, unpredictable and well crafted dramas, and are not entirely closed-minded re. an afterlife I'd highly recommend it.
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on 27 July 2013
Good film , very interesting and entertaining. The combination of Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon ensures a quality piece of work.
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on 8 February 2016
I hadn't seen any adverts or marketing material for this movie, I was aware of it but I'm not sure how I missed it on release, as I'm a fan of Clint as a film-maker and I was very pleasantly surprised when I did finally see it. HEREAFTER is a brilliant drama and it starts with a very thrilling tsunami scene, as experienced through one of the main characters Mary Lelay (the lovely Cécile de France) a French journalist and part celebrity. The movie also shows events concerning an English schoolboy Marcus who has lost his twin brother Jason (In a very moving performance by George Mclaren who plays both twins.); Hereafter also tells the story of George Lonegan (Matt Damon) a lonely psychic, who doesn't want to be a psychic anymore and its looking for a romantic partner. The three characters are unrelated but then cross paths at some point in the story (I won't give any spoilers). The movie rather nicely mixes fictional characters and stories into real life historical events which are rather sensitively handled. The cinematography and performances are all excellent as expected from a director and cast of this calibre; I highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes strong drama and romances. I easily give this a 5 start rating - It's a flawless movie.
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VINE VOICEon 9 June 2015
Hard to add much more to so many good reviews for this film.

It's a slow drama but each moment is full of understated emotion and so believable that it completely draws the viewer in.

The script, acting and deliberate pacing is top notch.

A film dealing with life, death and life after death its not preachy or even assumes to give answers, it just plays out, much like real life does.

Again Eastwood shows how good he is behind the camera and Damon is perfect as the introvert lead character, topped off by a great supporting cast.

A rare film that's uplifting to watch.

The only critiscm is its quite clear sometime in that all the main characters will eventually cross paths towards the end and in in this kind of film its probably going to be a happy ending, not a bad thing, just a bit predictable.
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on 8 April 2015
Saw it first here. Brilliant film, tastefully executed with all the storylines drawn together seamlessly. Would like to see where it goes from here too as the stories could well link again down the linear timeline. Definitely worth watching again. Highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see something fresh and different.
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on 26 January 2016
Oh my goodness, this film near ripped my heart out and then put it back in again! Wow. Just wow. This is a truly beautiful film. Considering the subject matter, it doesnt descend into saccharine trite nonsense which is a definate risk when it comes to films about the after life. It manages to achieve a beautiful balance between emotionality and gritty realness. It is a sensitively told story of the coming together of three lives which all have the subject of the after life in common. I cried the equivalent of niagara falls watching this film but by the end I didnt feel sad, just poignantly satisfied.
Bloody good job Clint, this is an amazing film.
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on 6 September 2014
A moving film, thoughtful, quiet and provoking great feeling. Not many films truely reflect the great tragedies of life but still gives us glimmers of hope and love. Need to go hug my children.
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on 25 September 2014
Unexpected. English character actors along with quality American and French ones too. Initially, the film seems to be about NDE's or Near Death Experiences but it's actually more about a man with a 'disability' that prevents him from forming close relationships and how he finds a woman he is able to love.

Beautifully shot. Pleasantly surprised to find Clint Eastwood directed. And that's all to its credit. I recommend it to those who like a different approach. It was an enjoyable watch.
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