Let’s Talk About Movies: Hereafter

Clint Eastwood’s newest movie “Hereafter succeeds in telling the stories of three different people and how this common link brings them together. But the movie is not without a few flaws.The movie begins with Marie LeLay (Cécile De France), a Frenchwoman, barely surviving a tsunami while on holiday with her boyfriend, Didier (Thierry Neuvic). Following her near death experience, LeLay is changed after briefly experiencing her own death.

The second protagonist we meet is George Lonegan (Matt Damon), an American and former psychic looking to change his life for fear that a life revolving around death is no life at all. Finally, Marcus (Frankie McLaren), an English boy, is the third main character we meet who recently experienced the death of his twin brother Jason.

These three go through the movie trying to make sense of their experiences before a chance meeting of the three changes their worlds forever.

The highlight of this movie was the storyline, as it had unique and fresh feeling despite sharing some qualities with “Inception.” Throughout the film, we see these characters struggle with the changes their experiences with death have brought. Lonegan quickly became the most detailed character with the most interesting path to the finale.

However, while these back stories offer unique looks into the lives of these people, each one feels a tad drawn out and overdone. By the midway point of the film, the plot begins slowing down significantly, especially when contrasted with how quickly the movie ends. Eastwood would have done well to cut each one short by about 10 minutes, shaving 30 minutes off the final product and would not lost too much of the story.

As for the acting, most of the actors played their parts very well. In addition to being the biggest name on the bill, Damon delivered the best performance of the movie. De France was another highlight with her convincing portrayal of a woman scorned by loved ones and her employers.

The only real let down from the talent was Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of Ron Howard, playing Melanie, Lonegan’s love interest for part of the movie. Unnatural and forced were two words that immediately popped into my head while watching her stumble through her meager part. Luckily, she was only in the movie for a brief period.

Finally, the framing decisions and camerawork were top notch as the moods of certain scenes became more vivid. Primarily, the tsunami sequence came alive as witty camera placement allowed the audience to feel the same horror as the characters.

The good parts of this film definitely outweigh the negative ones. The slowness of the plot at times was almost unbearable but the freshness of the story makes up for that problem. Also, the mark of a good drama is high quality acting, which this movie delivers almost unanimously. I recommend checking this movie out for sure; just don’t expect another “Million Dollar Baby.”

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