UK Release date: 28th January 2011
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 7th January 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This film wasn’t very well received by the critics and hence suffered a little at the box office. That’s quite sad because I found it quite touching and heart-warming and I believe it deserved better. Yes, I know I’m a fan of Clint Eastwood’s work, but even so, I must admit to quite liking this one. It’s a little disjointed at times and I can see how some might struggle with certain sections of the film having subtitles, but over all I found it not as bad as everyone has made out. More of my thoughts after this brief summary.
The stories of three people are brought together in London (England), but we begin far from there. A French TV reporter, Marie Lelay, is on holiday when she is caught up in a tsunami. She is dragged under the water and it is here that she undergoes what would be described as a ‘near-death experience’. This has a dramatic effect on her life and she feels compelled to write a book about it. Meanwhile in San Francisco a former psychic, George Lonegan, does a reading for a client of his brothers’ as a favour. He really does not want to do it because he feels that this ‘gift’ doesn’t allow him to have a normal life. Later, after a burgeoning romance doesn’t work out because of it he decides to take a trip. In London twin brothers Marcus and Jason are separated when one of them is killed in an accident. The remaining one, missing his brother, tries all sorts to contact him, but there’s only one man in the world who might be able to help him. George’s trip takes him to London and Marie’s publisher wants her there for a book show. All three are going to meet, but what will happen when they do? I’ve probably already said too much and the Spoiler Police will be haunting me(again).
Very well made with some excellent CGI in the opening sequence. Eastwood has a very deliberate style and I really like the way his films look and feel. Great performances all round, particularly from Matt Damon as George Lonegan, a tough part that he played really well. Cécile De France also did a great job as Marie Lelay; most of her part was in French so it was a little difficulty to judge, but she was convincing enough. The twins; Frankie McLaren and George McLaren who played both Marcus and Jason did a fine job; as child actors I thought they coped really well. Honourable mentions must also go to; Jay Mohr as Billy, Thierry Neuvic as Didier, Lyndsey Marshal as Jackie, Bryce Dallas Howard as Melanie and Richard Kind as Christos.
As you can see from my synopsis it’s quite a complicated plot with several threads that have to be pulled together. As I said at the beginning, one of these threads is predominantly spoken in French which I could see putting may off. Even so, I’ve seen enough foreign language films to be able to cope pretty well with that. Many may have also been put off by Eastwood’s slow, deliberate pacing, but I thought it was fine; it give the audience time to adsorb what’s going on. The subject matter is also quite contentious, but, again, no problem for me, I just saw it as a story about a man struggling with his ‘gift’. Over all, I feel this film has been poorly treated by the critics and is woefully underrated… for me, Recommended.
My score: 7.5/10
IMDb Score: 6.6/10 (based on 38,966 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 46/100 (based on 211 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 40/100 (based on 62,077 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Dr. Rousseau: You know, as a scientist and atheist my mind was closed to such things. Oh, absolutely. Afterlife, near-death experiences Like everyone else, I thought people saw bright lights, Eden-like gardens and so forth because they were culturally conditioned to do so. But after 25 years in a hospice working with people, many of whom were pronounced dead but then miraculously survived. The account of what they actually experienced were so strikingly similar it couldn't just be coincidence. And add to that the fact that when they had these experiences they were almost all unconscious, a state in which my enemies agree the brain cannot create fresh images.
Marie Lelay: So you think I really did experience something?
Dr. Rousseau: Oh, yes. I think you experienced death.
Billy: [about George] He said, "A life that's all about death is no life at all."
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://hereafter.warnerbros.com/dvd/