"Hereafter" - Coming To A Lifetime Channel Near You
This might be sacrilegious to say since Hollywood loves Clint Eastwood, but “Hereafter” was uneven, longwinded and manipulative.
The opening sequence had so much promise, with Marie LeLay (Cécile De France) caught in the throes of the tsunami.
She dies, is revived, and comes back to life a changed person. She’s no longer the assertive French journalist she once was, but rather lost in thought at the fact that she’s seen what happens after a person dies and knows that an afterlife exists.
George Lonegan (Matt Damon) is the psychic who gave up his public life of helping people connect with the dead because his life was becoming more and more unbearable.
His “curse” as he put it, made having a chance at a normal life impossible, and loneliness pervades out of every aspect of his life.
Even Longegan’s brother Billy (Jay Mohr), who used to be his manager, doesn’t seem to be sincere in completely loving him.
Billy knows his brother has an undeniable gift, and uses the ruse that George should continue helping others in order to make money out of him like he used to.
Eastwood didn’t mean to make "Hereafter" hammy, but he did.
It seemed like Eastwood tried to be as straightforward in his directing as possible, tying historical and tragic events together with a theme that others might consider flighty or not grounded in real life.
Given the cut and dry nature at which he approached the subject of seeing dead people wasn’t the problem, it was all the in-between stuff that felt like he was trying to make audiences cry, a lot.
The first two scenes with sad and wistful piano music every time Matt Damon or anyone gazed off into space and sat alone was quite pretty; after the fifth time it was overkill.
I get that these characters are lonely and in situations that set them apart from the world, but to hammer it in with music, or overextended scenes makes me recoil in a way that’s akin to being handed flyers on the street to save Darfur.
What should make me care more makes me care less because of the way it’s approached, and I start to feel a little used.
The movie had a great idea of taking all the romanticism associated with clairvoyance out of the picture and humanizing the person possessing the gift, but Eastwood’s execution turned it into a Lifetime channel movie.