Over the weekend, my loving wife and I sat down to watch a movie. We chose Hereafter, starring Matt Damon and a bunch of other people I’d never heard of. And that guy who used to be in the Pepsi “Brown-‘n’-Bubbly” commercials and was in The Ghost Whisperer. Remember him? (His name’s Jay Mohr, if that helps you. It wouldn’t help me, I can say that.)
It’s about a series of events which lead to the lives of George Lonegal, a gifted psychic, and Marie Lelay, a French journalist and newscaster, intersecting. George only needs to touch someone for a moment or two (ala The Dead Zone, IIRC) to get a “connection” with them. And that means a link to their dead loved ones, who will then speak to the person via George (which is more like The Ghost Whisperer or Medium than a psychic, isn’t it?).
Sometimes things are exactly what they should be. The person is told they’re forgiven, or they hear the encouragement to pursue something they couldn’t before, or they hear they’re going to be all right.
Other times, though, George has to deliver a shocking blow. Something deep and hidden, something the person receiving the reading didn’t want anyone – including George – to know. And despite warnings from George, and despite his insistence that he doesn’t do that anymore, he doesn’t want to do that anymore, they just keep coming to him. Especially after his brother Billy (Jay Mohr) can’t take the hint and keep his big mouth closed. See, Billy wants George to go back into the “business” of being a psychic. But George doesn’t want anything to do with that. He just wants to live his life – a normal, regular-guy, I-drive-a-forklift-in-a-sugar-factory normal.
And as for Marie Lelay (Cecile De France), well, she’s got an interesting story. She was a hot commodity, a famous journalist and newscaster on the rise, with many bright options in her future. But on December 26, 2004, her life changed forever. And on the encouragement of her boyfriend/producer, she steps aside to write a book and take some time to deal with what happened to her. But that turns out to be both a horrible mistake – and a blessing in the long run.
There’s a third story about Marcus, a twin with brother Jason, who lives a tragic life with a drug-addicted mother and social services breathing down their neck. When tragedy strikes, Marcus goes on a quest to find someone – anyone – who can help him deal with his loss. His final destination will lead him to George.
Hereafter is interesting on a few fronts. First, because Clint Eastwood also wrote the original music for the movie. Second, because the whole thing is backstory, pretty much. It’s like the entire movie is set up for the final act, rather than the first act being set up for the rest of the movie. (That’s not actually true, if analyzed correctly, but the movie can be viewed that way easily.)
Most of the movie is comprised of stories which lead each of the characters on a journey that brings them to the same place, for vastly different reasons. A very interesting format.
I felt it dragged a little at 2:09, but honestly, this isn’t a movie with much for pace. It has to unfold. And I was interested most of the time. Most.
I gave it four stars. Well acted, well written, but a bit slower than it had to be. I think some celluloid could have been saved and still gotten the movie across. Then again, I’m working for a living instead of making movies, so what do I know?
Before we closed out of Vudu, we rated Hereafter 4 stars. Your mileage may vary, but if you’re into paranormal movies more about character than ghosts, this is your ticket.