Film Review: Hereafter disappoints despite weighty themes, strong performances

Hereafter★★by Laura Savary

Clint Eastwood's new film Hereafter details the journeys of three individuals who have been affected by death and try to make sense of the afterlife. It poses the question, "What happens to us after we die?"

Matt Damon plays George Lonnegan, a psychic who has difficulty dealing with what he calls a "curse." Marie Lelay (Cécile de France) is French television journalist who becomes obsessed whether or not there is "life after death" after having a near-death experience, and Marcus - played by brothers Frankie and George McLaren - is a young British boy who wants to know what happened to his twin brother after he died.

Of the three, the film primarily focuses on Lonnegan, who after using his "curse" as a career for years is now reluctant to aid others in their quest to communicate beyond the grave. In time, Lonnegan decides to travel to Europe to try to forget about his abilities, and the stories of the three characters finally come together at a book fair in London.

The performances by all three of the actors are commendable. It was refreshing to see Damon play a softer, more emotional character than the action-hungry Jason Bourne in the Bourne series. In her role, de France does an admirable job of communicating her character's desire for answers, and both Frankie and George McLaren effectively display the strife of a grieving boy.

The overall idea of the film was interesting in theory, but was not successfully brought to the screen. Since the plot centers on the life of not just one, but three characters, the movie becomes more about the journeys themselves than what the characters actually learn about death. Eastwood also introduces subplots into the film - such as Lonnegan's love interest Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard) and his cooking classes - that have no noticeable resolution.