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Matt Damon
Cécile De France
Bryce Dallas Howard
Frankie McLaren
George McLaren
Jay Mohr.
Clint Eastwood.
Peter Morgan.
Running Time
129 minutes

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The not-so-sweet kind

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After a near-death experience during a tsunami, hard-nosed French TV journalist Marie LeLay (De France) reassesses her life. After his twin brother is run over and killed by a car, a deprived London boy (George and Frankie McLaren) is desperate to maintain their close connection. And, in San Francisco, lonely George (Damon) is trying to find a way to live with his ‘gift’: a genuine ability to talk with the departed.

It's interesting that, at 81 years old, Clint Eastwood should for the first time choose to tackle the supernatural and the question of what happens after we die. And the fact that the script that hooked him was written by Peter Morgan — such an astute dramatiser of major true-life political events and figures (in The Queen and Frost/Nixon especially) — should be an exciting prospect. Yet both factors only compound disappointment when it becomes apparent that Hereafter is a sagging failure.

Not an unmitigated disaster, mind you. The opening sequence portrays a tsunami pummelling its way through a lazy coastal tourist trap, holidaying Frenchwoman Cécile De France tossed around with such deadly jetsam as cars and telephone poles. It’s a breathtaking sequence, and a strong set-up. And, of the three story strands, the one concerning Matt Damon’s medium, George, who can’t touch another person without his psyche becoming engorged with messages from their dead loved-ones, offers the film’s dramatic high points as he tentatively attempts romance with Bryce Dallas Howard’s twinkly Melanie during cookery lessons.

Elsewhere, De France’s crusading journo irritatingly diverts her attention from topics that matter to a mission to prove the ‘reality’ of the afterlife. This amounts to her driving off with a box of files given to her by a single white-coated source who talks vaguely about how these shared near-death experiences can’t just be coincidence: bad journalism and bad science espoused in one fell swoop. Ultimately, she’s no better than all the quacks Morgan has such larks mocking in an earlier sequence.

The other thread sees Eastwood out of sorts in Elephant And Castle, dealing with a troubled mite who just lost his twin brother to a car accident and has a junkie mother. Sadly, the twins who play the kid — plucked off the streets of London — can’t act, and not even decades of experience can help Eastwood steer them towards something even half-convincing. But this is as much the fault of the sometimes sub-soap script — it hardly helps to have one of the poor boys exclaim, “Now we can finally be a proper family!” Eastwood does EastEnders? No thanks.

Slow, ponderous and as shallow as it thinks it is deep, lifted only by an impressive opening and fine work from Damon and Howard.

Reviewed by William Thomas

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Hereafter
Empire Star Rating

RE: Hereafter Review

Disappointing. Bloated, some terrible acting from most of the cast, dodgy CGI, a ridiculously non-conclusive ending, awfully inappropriate just all adds up to a badly directed film. There is a good film in here somewhere, the premise and story strands are actually quite promising to start with, but it needed tighter direction and should have been condensed into 90 minutes. ... More

Posted by Vitamin F at 10:39, 22 June 2012 | Report This Post

Hereafter Review

Despite a thought-provoking premise and Clint Eastwood's typical flair as director, Hereafter fails to generate much more compelling drama, straddling the line between poignant sentimentality and hokey tedium. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 11:59, 20 December 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Clint screws up.

I was shocked how poor this was.Stunned.By Clint?? The plot was all over the place,there was little to care about and Damon was like somone who knew he was about to fall off a cliff. And the child actors make the Narnia kids Oscar-worthy.Easily the most cringe i've ever felt watching a film. 1 star. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 18:13, 13 September 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Clint screws up.

I have to say I thought the film was disappointing. I think the trailer jumbled it all together into a more satisfying whole than what the film produced. I thought by far the strongest element of the story was George Lonergan's tale, deftly played by Matt Damon. I really liked the scenes between Lonergan and Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard) - very touching, tender and you could see how vulnerable they both were. I thought the whole thing with the French lady and the young boy were gratuitous. They... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 15:41, 13 September 2011 | Report This Post

Clint screws up.

Am i the only person to see the flagrant mistakes with this film? First of all, the tsunami scene. Overly graphic and insulting. How would any surviving tsunami victim feel like? This was a poor opening, and completely unnecessary. Then, there was the whole "single-mum-druggie-living-in-a-shithole" scene in London, which seemed to imply that that was your typical London family. As the plot stumbled on it collapsed in a mess of nonsense and clichés. In your book, Empire, two sta... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMovieAddict101 at 10:56, 17 July 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Dead Boring.......

I did say I was paraphrasing ... More

Posted by GCH at 20:43, 18 February 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Dead Boring.......

L: GCH Not boring, but not really exciting. The tsunami scene is terrific, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up in the Underground scene. The rest is interesting rather than engaging, paraphrase The Who 'The kids are not alright'w its hard to get children to convince on screen, but compare these two to Haley Joel at the same age. Chalk and cheese. echnically speaking that was the Offspring, the kids were perfectly alright in the Who's mind.... ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 13:02, 17 February 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Dead Boring.......

Not boring, but not really exciting. The tsunami scene is terrific, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up in the Underground scene. The rest is interesting rather than engaging, but to paraphrase The Who 'The kids are not alright'. I know its hard to get children to convince on screen, but compare these two to Haley Joel at the same age. Chalk and cheese. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by GCH at 12:07, 17 February 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Dead Boring.......

Somewhere, there is a good film in here. Damon gives an impressive, understated performance throughout as a man weighed down by his "gift” and the scenes he shares with Bryce Dallas Howard are a small delight. Whilst the opening ten minutes expertly depict the sheer panic and confusion felt by people in relation to a specific real-life natural disaster. It's just a shame then that virtually everything else is rubbish. Firstly the amount of product placement for Blackberry is ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 16:17, 08 February 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Dead Boring.......

Hereafter opens with the deceptively peaceful scenes of a tropical paradise,where French reporter Marie DeLay (Cecile De France) is vacationing with her boss and lover, Didier (Thierry Neuvic). Just before the couple are set to return to Europe, they become victims of a deadly tsunami. Marie DeLay survives but her near death experience leaves her more than just shaken,she believes she has seen beyond the pale.This is one awesome piece of acting,and you really feel her pain and bewilderme... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by evil bill at 19:09, 03 February 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Dead Boring.......

The question of what happens after we die is one that will probably never be answered, but that hasn't stopped filmmakers from approaching it every now and again.  Personally I'm fascinated by the idea of life after death and am a sucker for any film that attempts, even obliquely, to give some kind of answer.  Clint Eastwood's latest film has been seen by some as a bit of a departure in subject matter for him, but I think that's a silly statement considering his films ta... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 19:17, 02 February 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Dead Boring.......

good matt's movie. ... More

Posted by undisputed3 at 11:18, 02 February 2011 | Report This Post

Dead Boring.......

Have to agree with a lot of the comments on here about this Film, it was certainly not anywhere near as good as I thought it was going to be, and if it WAS directed by Clint Eastwood, its the worst one in his career....... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by n13roy at 21:41, 01 February 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Hereafter

Director: astwood Screenwriter: organ Starring: mon, Cecile de France, Bryce Dallas Howard, Frankie/Mason McLaren Synopsis A blue-collar American (Damon) tries to avoid the occupation he once had as a psychic who can communicate with the dead; a French journalist (de France) has a near-death experience which leads her to learn more about the hereafter; a London school boy (McLaren) loses his older twin brother and searches for guidance. Review Although the idea of th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 18:02, 01 February 2011 | Report This Post

A big mess

I'm with the reviewer who questions whether Clint really directed this... What the wha is going on in this film? ! It feels as though there might be a once-good story in there somewhere - however, it's so buried under multiple threads that really go nowhere, it just becomes a big mess of inconsequential nonsense. The contrivances to get the characters where they need to be are just gobsmacking: making Damon's psychic a Dickens fan for seemingly no other reason than to give him an excuse to b... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by louise_s at 15:44, 01 February 2011 | Report This Post

It felt like a lifetime

The tsunami was good even though the CG was a bit wishy washy. The acting was so wooden they couldv'e used that for the floating debris in the opening sequence. The twins, just awful glad there was only one in the film. A mic was visible in one scene above a psycics head. A restuarant scene distracted me because an extra, lady, had a menu in her hand one shot, then she didnt then she did. I thought did Clint really direct this film. For once empire have got their stars right giving it 2. S... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by barneybulgin at 16:57, 30 January 2011 | Report This Post

A B Y S M A L !!!!!!!

OMG Mr Eastwood. What have you done? How can you even think that this film is passable as anything in the same universe as cinematic entertainment? Have you seriously lost the plot? And Mr Spielberg, .......well, words fail me sir.How can anyone say that Damon lifts this film? He is absolutely lifeless, boring, passionless and totally unmotivated by it. Awful!!!! He actually looks embarrased at how bad some of this is....its a crying shame Eastwood and Spielberg didn/t share it. The whole film i... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The kUrGaN at 18:01, 29 January 2011 | Report This Post


this is prob the first film directed by clint that ive not felt like standing up and clapping at the end. dont get me wrong its not a bad film, just run of the mill..... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by HERMES_67 at 20:48, 28 January 2011 | Report This Post

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