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  • Hereafter (2010) | Review

    By | October 21, 2010

    Director: Clint Eastwood

    Writer: Peter Morgan

    Starring: Matt Damon, Cécile De France, Thierry Neuvic, Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren

    Oh Clint, what strange land hath thou taken us to? It’s a land of bizarre ghostly figures, depressed clairvoyants, and British children who wander aimlessly under the gray skies of London. It’s a place of tsunamis juxtaposed against calm, comfortable French restaurants, with French people speaking smartly with subtitles. It’s a place of grown men eating (and cooking) alone. It’s a purposeful place, but oddly lacking purpose. It’s a land of talented actors speaking lines that leave their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. Oh Clint, what hast thou done!

    Yes, here in the Hereafter, even Matt Damon cannot slay the mighty beast. Here, Matt plays George, a lonely psychic, who is afraid to touch another for fear of channeling their dead relatives. Meanwhile, halfway around the globe, Marie (Cécile De France) has had a brush with death and things are getting very weird. What will she do? What will happen? Will she seek out George for guidance? No, not a chance—come on! In London, a tragedy has a little boy looking at his feet and looking for answers. Hint: they are not on your feet.

    Indeed, Hereafter is a strange place and a strange movie. It’s not strange in that cocking your head and wondering way, although you will certainly start to do so after about an hour into the film. No, it’s strange in that Clint Eastwood could have directed such a disjointed dud. What starts out as a somewhat interesting film with an indie vibe eventually morphs into a sugarcoated frenzy of trite dialogue and incessant location changes; characters that held our interest begin to lose their charm, and we are left with a film that is utterly predictable.

    Matt Damon is by far my favorite in Hereafter even though he’s not given a lot to do, which just shows that he can even do nothing well. Cécile De France does an admirable job as our French tsunami survivor, but her abilities are bogged down by the same sort of purposelessness from which Mr. Damon suffers. As for our British twins, Frankie & George McLaren (Marcus and James respectfully), they do little more than whine throughout the film. Jay Mohr plays Damon’s money-hungry brother, a character that could have been cut from the film completely. Bryce Dallas Howard plays George’s brief love interest, and was possibly the only character that exuded any energy in Hereafter.

    Hereafter is one of those films that many will enjoy because it’s got two things that some people love: psychics that communicate with dead people and a happy ending. (Shit, I just gave away the ending!) Indeed, the trailer for this film features a lot of that smoky, swirly effect with people walking around, the kind of thing that makes people say, “that movie is going to be cool!” Unfortunately, there is very little of the after-world in Hereafter; in fact there is only one dead person in the entire movie. Yes, I was hoping for more dead people, and well, a better movie. Instead, Hereafter is lost in a void that defies its genre, and if you get lost in that void, you’re screwed. In the future, I would suggest Mr. Eastwood stick with what he knows best— perhaps another western? The here and now is where it’s at, Clint, so please, no more ghost movies. Stay away from the light!

    Rating: 4/10

    Topics: Film Reviews, News | 7 Comments »

    • Doug Parry

      I think it’s funny that you don’t really review the actual acting or directing, but just give a vague and horribly written review without purpose. I give your website a 2/10. You should not be reviewing movies. You are probably upset that this movie didn’t fit in your boring hollywood box, and maybe even had trouble following the story. It was a unique flick and you should stick to reviewing movies more along your intellectual level. (See chick flick section) Thanks.

    • Dave Campbell

      Hi Doug,

      I’d like to take a minute to better understand your comments. First off, it’s clear that you have different feelings about Hereafter than Dirk did. So just because your opinion is different on a single film, you feel the need to start trashing our writer and the entire site? Nice! I’m also confused about your “hollywood box” statement because this film was totally designed and marketed from the actual Hollywood “box”, and we cover a great deal of films that are made outside of the Hollywood system completely. I’d love to read your thoughts on why the film is so “unique”. Dirk actually followed the story very well which is represented in his well crafted review that reflects all the points that back up his opinion. Being so adamant about Hereafter, why not say “I disagree” and then tactfully provide your own take with reasons for your opinion. Lastly, trying to attack Dirk’s intellectual level (which is quite high) by making an enormously sexist statement demeaning women all in the same sentence…well that’s just priceless.

      I personally welcome you back to respectfully redeem yourself.

      Dave Campbell
      Editor-In-Chief | Smells Like Screen Spirit

    • Doug Parry

      I’d like to start off by saying that the only reason I took the time to trash your writer and the entire site is because your writer felt the need to trash a (Award winning) directors range and ability to direct a movie by making such an arrogant comment like “I suggest Mr. Eastwood sticks to what he knows best-perhaps another western”?. Nice! So I just wanted you guys to know how it feels to be judged the way you judge people off of one piece of work and if you want “tactfully” written comments maybe you should consider showing the same respect.

      I don’t think this is Clint Eastwoods best work on any level, but I also wouldn’t call it a “dud”. I think it was a slow movie with that’s trying to show how death affects people differently. I thought the acting was a little flat but also better than a lot of movies out there. As for the story/plot,…. If your writer doesn’t like fantasy movies then maybe he shouldn’t be watching them. It’s supposed to be a fiction movie (just a heads up). I prefer more realistic movies myself, but I don’t go into a fiction movie expecting that.

      HAHA,…and as for my “enormously sexist” chick flick comment that I guess set the gender back 100 yrs? It was a joke, and I suppose that you’re going to defend the fact that typically “chick flicks” are well written intellectual movies? Since not all women watch these movies I will ignore your attempt to make it seem like I was talking about the entire gender.

      I apologize if I offended you by my joke and if I gave you the impression that I was in love with the movie because i’m not. I think it could have been better, but I have seen a lot worse. Maybe next time as your writer is trashing the entire movie and the directors ability to step out of his world of making westerns (which he has done time after time) he should take the time to point out a couple positive points about the movie as well. I think the movie deserved a little more respect than you guys gave it, even if it doesn’t deserve any awards. How’s that for priceless?

      -Doug Parry

    • Dave Campbell

      Hello Doug,

      While I appreciate that you took the time to respond to my reply, I’m not sure that you fully understand that this is a film criticism website. We are not an extension of the marketing team like other film sites of the world. I’d like to address each of your new comments with my own below:

      There is nothing about Dirk’s review that is slanderous or crosses lines of trashing the film or Clint Eastwood. This is film criticism; you can take words out of context and gear them how you want, but you somehow missed the positives that were mentioned in the review and that it was given a 4/10. I personally thought that it was more of a 2 or 3 in my own opinion. He may have won awards in the past, but that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. This wasn’t a good movie, so past awards are not relevant. I’d also like to point out that Dirk and myself are both fans of Mr. Eastwood and you should be able to see this from Dirk in his review of Invictus.

      You may not call it a dud, but that’s how Dirk felt about it. I want the very talented writers that we have to be honest with how they feel about a movie and we take great consideration to how we comment negatively. I hope that you realize that the majority of all critics gave this film negative reviews and were much harsher than us. Dirk has written reviews for many fantasy/fiction based films so maybe you should give them a read and not take such a personal stance per one review that you disagree with.

      At face value you not only questioned Dirk’s intellect but suggested that films designed for the female sex lacked it as well. Making comments like that won’t score you any points with the writer you are trying to “reason” with or the people you are insulting with a blanket statement. If Dirk’s review is your definition of trashing one movie and it’s film maker, then your comments to Dirk trashed him, an entire genre, and every film maker who has ever done a film in said genre. You must see how extremely hypocritical that is.

      He didn’t “trash” the movie (especially the “entire movie”) like you are claiming, and he had many positives represented in his review. I think that a couple of points that were made really pissed you off so much that you missed everything else. As mentioned before, Dirk is aware of the many worlds that Eastwood has stepped into and there are many of his films that are excellent. That being said, we are not here to overlook bad work just because of who a director is and because he has done incredible things in the past. This is one review of one movie; none of his other films needed to be considered while this film was being reviewed.

      Doug – Thank you for reading Smells Like Screen Spirit to begin with. I personally love reading comments/reviews on the opposite side of my own opinions. I find value in the balance and in the way that it makes me think about the film even more. Ultimately I am glad that you responded, and I think we are going to just have to agree to disagree…and that is OK. You seem to be passionate about movies and that’s a good thing; it’s a quality that everyone here shares as well. I hope that you continue to read our site and welcome you to comment in the future.


      Dave Campbell
      Editor-In-Chief | Smells Like Screen Spirit

    • Doug Parry

      Fair enough, I respect your comments and may have taken it a bit personal. I still don’t think it deserved a 4/10, but I guess that’s why art is subjective. I’ll keep reading your reviews and next time I disagree with you, I will try to be a little more mature about it.

    • Ben Waterson

      Who can tell me the names of the French restaurants in Hereafter? Many thanks.

    • Iang

      This intelligent & brave movie seems to be getting the bird.

      OK, I did find it lacked focus/punch/not sure what, but at least it’s going in the right direction and you’ve got to give that a plus.

      I had 2 OB (not ND) experiences over 20 years ago that profoundly affected my life (Hey! I am NOT this body!!)

      More recently in the last 2 yrs I’ve had 2 NDE that just confirm that the essence of this film is right on. Death is as wonderful, as natural, as birth. It goes on. And on. And on

      I admire Clint for going out of the box on this; he went out on a limb. Good one buddy! Ian Relevant, non abusive emails welcome.