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Film:  Hereafter

Rated:  R

Playing at:  Showcase Cinemas Worcester North, Regal Cinemas Westborough, Regal Cinemas Solomon Pond Mall, and Other Major Theaters

Review by Dan Barbour

George (Matt Damon) has a gift. To him, it is a curse. Instead of things turning to gold, his Midas style touch involves connecting with those who have died. For every person he touches, he is able to see a loved one lost. This ability has ruined his social life, his family relationships, and any chance of being normal. Clint Eastwood’s newest film about what happens when we die doesn’t answer the age old question, but instead tells a nice, touching story of three people who are asking.

Along with George, we meet a French journalist, Marie. During a near-death experience involving a tsunami, she sees a glimpse of death, and the peace and comfort it brings. She uses this encounter with the hereafter to forward her writing career. Along with Marie and George, we also meet Marcus, a very young child. Upon the tragic accidental death of his twin brother, he begins searching every avenue possible to communicate with him.

Clint Eastwood weaves these three relatively depressing stories together to create a film that is ultimately uplifting. I am a very religious individual, and while there were scenes that were contradictory to my personal convictions, the overall story doesn’t attack or discredit the beliefs of any group. Instead, it offers up the idea that an afterlife does exist, and doesn’t go any further. Maybe Eastwood would have been breaking more ground if he had taken the story to another spiritual level, but I like the way he remained vague. He made an unoffensive, brilliantly acted, and well told film that I can highly recommend. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

Family Take: The opening tsunami sequence is one of the more violent moments I’ve seen in a PG-13 film. While there is relatively no blood, the battering of human bodies caused a number of gasps from the audience at my screening. There is also some mild sexual content, occasional strong profanity, and the overall topic that is really for mature audiences.

If you like Hereafter Try: After such a heavy film like Hereafter, I would suggest watching Ghost Town, a comedic take on the afterlife starring the hilarious Ricky Gervais of The Office fame.