What waits for us after we die? It’s an interesting question and Director Clint Eastwood manages the question without delving into a religious perspective in his 2010 film Hereafter. In the film, Eastwood is again a little romanticized for my tastes, yet in one storyline of the film brings out a powerful performance from Matt Damon in a solid yet frustrating film.
The film has three separate plots that intertwine not unlike a favorite film of mine Amores Perros. The main story deals with the character of George played by Matt Damon. He is a genuine psychic, given his ability due to a illness combined with a surgical procedure to the base of his skull. George is a fascinating character as he has this ability to see everything about people, yet he rejects it and considers it a curse. The second plot is about television reporter Marie as played by Cecil De France. She is involved in a horrific, yet beautifully executed tsunami and has a near death experience. From this point forward she is lax towards her day job and wants to write about her experiences, much to the dismay of her boss and lover. Finally we have Marcus and Jase. The twin brothers have a troubled mother who is close to losing them to social services unless the boys help her. Jase is running errands for his mother and after running away from some bullies, is killed by an oncoming vehicle. Marcus is scarred by the fact that his brother and best friend is now dead and he’s truly alone.
Of these three sections of the film, I really only cared about one of them. I’m not sure if it was due to the language barrier as Marie is French and Marcus is very English, or if I was just more fascinated with the character of George. I really like the idea of having something that others would consider a gift, yet rejecting it. We never find out exactly why George rejects his life as a psychic in specific but a tremendous example is given as to why he tries to keep it from women he may be interested in. Damon, looking aged in this film, is devastating in the role. He looks weary and beaten down without being obvious. He attends a cooking class in order to meet new people and while it looks like he may get lucky, the new relationship falls apart quickly when he reluctantly does a reading for her.
The other plot lines just weren’t as interesting as I couldn’t grasp the reason behind the entire Marcus storyline. The children playing Marcus and Jase, were trying, I’ll give them that, but from what I could tell they are not professional actors which really took away from the film. Much like Eastwood’s earlier work Gran Torino, where he cast some nonprofessional actors and the end result suffered. As for the story with Marie and her search to talk about the Hereafter she experienced, I just didn’t care. It’s tough when the character you’re supposed to be on the side of, doesn’t seem that put out with the low point of her character arc. She experiences a loss of job and her lover takes her replacement on as his new thing, which completely lives into a French stereotype, but all the while she still could work on a different project and be completely fine financially. She isn’t having disturbing visions and it’s not ruining her life, it’s just more of a curiosity and that really annoyed me. George on the other hand, is being laid off his job and is on the run from this curse as he calls it. In his past it’s referenced that he essentially had people stalking him and wanting him to do reading for them at all hours of the day. This is a much more engrossing story with a powerful performance by Damon. I only wish it was the entirety of the movie, and the two other sub plots had been removed.