|Hereafter movie poster, property of Warner Bros.|
Yesterday I decided that it's been too long since we've gone to Brian's theater to take advantage of our free movie privileges! So at 4:20 we went to see Hereafter starring Matt Damon, and we were both very glad that we did. This film is beautiful, thought-provoking, and deeply emotional.
The movie is essentially a drama about three different people, in three different parts of the world, all grappling with death in some way. First we have George Lonegan (Matt Damon) who is an American who was once a prominent psychic who spoke with the dead, but now craves a more normal life. There's also a French journalist named Marie LeLay (Cecile De France) who has a near-death experience where she catches a glimpse of the afterlife, and an English boy named Marcus (alternately Frankie and George McLaren) who loses his brother unexpectedly in an accident and desperately misses him.
What I loved about this movie was its simple and grounded approach to the subject matter. Apart from the beginning tsunami (which I'm sure you've seen in the trailer) the movie isn't flashy or gimmicky. The movie isn't a hokey ghost story like you might expect, but rather a look at how death affects our lives. Are our loved ones ever really gone? Is there a life after this one? Can we run away from our life's purpose? These are the sort of questions that I found myself thinking to myself, without ever feeling like it was stuffed down my throat. The movie wasn't pushy. It moved slowly and delicately, as if savoring a delicious meal.
Matt Damon is a terrific actor, but in this movie, he doesn't necessarily carry the story. Cecile De France gets just as much screen time and proves to be a brilliant actress herself. Another great performance, in my opinion, came from Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of director Ron Howard). She plays a young woman named Melanie who Matt Damon's character meets in a cooking class. Her role is small, but effective. She helps us to see what George's life is missing, and how his psychic gift destroys all his earthly relationships. She plays the part with great charm and naivete, and ultimately left me heart-broken.
If you're wanting The Sixth Sense's version of "I see did people," you'll be disappointed. But if you're wanting a little something more, you'll leave satisfied.
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