Don't be fooled by Matt Damon's somewhat spooky looking eyes on the poster. It isn't a horror movie. I wouldn't even classify it as a psychological thriller, which happens to be one of my favorite kinds of movies. I'm not sure it should be pigeonholed by calling it one thing or another anyway. It is quite simply an excellent drama. And don't take your kids. This one's more for Mom and Dad.
I was going to start off by saying that you get a lot of bang for your buck because this movie is looooong, but I have since come to discover that it was only 2 hours and 9 minutes. All I can say is that the previews must have gone on forever because we were in that theater for nearly 3 hours. My butt was numb. ; )
Now, moving on...
Hereafter is a prime example of exquisite storytelling. Don't look away! There are three stories going on here and each of them is worthy of your undivided attention. Really. It isn't often that you get a movie with one gripping storyline, let alone three, so this was a pleasant surprise. I could have watched a full movie based on any one of these storylines.
Now allow me to say that I could watch Matt Damon count blades of grass and be entertained. Anything he does is worthy of my time because I adore him. And now I will be on the lookout for any film starring Cecile De France. She was amazing! There is something so familiar about her; so 'I would swear I've seen her somewhere before'. But upon visiting her filmography I realized I had seen none of her previous work. She pulls off this character, a strong, educated, independent woman who has the world at her fingertips, and still manages to portray a certain girl next door quality that leaves you thinking you could easily be friends. I like her in this movie, and that's important to me. It is much easier to dislike the intimidation of powerful female characters than to relate to them, but Ms. De France doesn't allow you to even consider that you might not be able to forge a friendship.
I won't tell you that it didn't move a little slowly in places because I think it did. But I also won't say that it wasn't necessary to the storyline. Looking back on it, I'm not sure that there was any portion of this film that could have been edited away and still allow Eastwood (Clint...yeah, he was behind this one!) to maintain the integrity of the stories. Allow me to also say that it ended perhaps a bit....abruptly? I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it's true. At least until you look back on it.
You know how you leave the theater after watching a good movie and you think about it, pick it apart, and search for the answers to the questions you thought it should have answered? Well, Hereafter was one of those movies for me. It left me thinking (and discussing it with my husband) and I quickly realized that it ended pretty much as it should have. The questions were answered (if you were paying attention!) even if it wasn't totally obvious at the moment. Eastwood made YOU think about it and much of it was conveyed in undertones and actions, not through obvious verbal exchanges. I like that in a movie. And then I like to discuss it with others because most of the time, the next guy got something totally different from it than you did.
And I beg of you: DON'T READ ANYTHING THAT MIGHT SPOIL THIS FOR YOU! I went into this movie having read absolutely nothing about it (no spoilers at all and I really knew very little about the general theme of it) and I am so glad that I did. This was good stuff, so go in with a clean slate and no expectations or idea as to what you think is going to happen. You won't be disappointed.
And one little tidbit I found interesting. Do you know who this is?
Her name is Bryce Dallas Howard and she plays Melanie. But that's not the interesting part. What floored me is that she's Ron Howard's daughter! Yes, little Opie has a daughter who's all grown up! :)