Movie Review: “Hereafter”

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I was dragging my feet to see “Hereafter.” I’m not into paranormal or supernatural stories, but the trailer looks mystifyingly interesting, and the director’s name attached to it, Clint Eastwood (“Mystic River,” “Million Dollar Baby”), is hard to ignore.

The introductory pieces begin dramatially, giving glimpses into the lives of three characters in different countries (famed French journalist Marie LeLay, Cécile De France; jaded San Franciscan psychic-turned-factory worker George Lonegan, Matt Damon; English twin boys Marcus/Jason, Frankie/George McLaren).

The most powerful opening arguably belongs to Marie, who nearly dies during a vacation in Indonesia when a destructive tsunami wipes out villages and thousands of people. However, the twin boys’ situation, at the hands of an addicted, irresponsible mother (Lyndsey Marshal),  is insufferable.

In another continent, George undeniably feels that being able to connect with the deceased is a curse, as seen with his failures of having normal relationships. The price of having this “gift,” including the ability to make money from it, might be unduly high. Knowing everything about someone’s past, even a love interest (Bryce Dallas Howard), may not be as it’s cracked up to be.

“Hereafter” is steadily slow, but never loses my attention. There’s a pensive aura throughout, but not necessarily depressive. The sneak peek makes us believe that this is a “supernatural” film, which may demystify questions such as: What happens when we die? Will we see bright white lights? Does everything fade into black? Are we truly gone? Are we watching over the people we leave behind? Can someone really communicate with the departed and relay the message to the living? While the trailer may beg these questions, “Hereafter” is largely a drama, with a supernatural element.

“Hereafter” shows how an everyday act – something you’re doing or not doing – can result in an incident that changes the course of your life, and link you to another human being that you never would have otherwise. It shows that no matter how precious (or awful) someone had been to you, life goes on and somehow you’d have to find a way to cope and move on. Don’t go in expecting insight into the afterlife; “Hereafter” mostly deals with here and now.

Copyright (c) 2010. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven ( Nathalia can be reached at

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].


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