Hereafter is a thoughtful and interesting movie with a dramatic start and a wistful, low-key ending that may disappoint some viewers.
It starts with a bang, or rather with a tsunami, in a sequence worthy of a big-budget action movie. A French TV personality named Marie LeLay (Cécile De France) is caught in the wave and almost drowns. She has a classic “near death experience” in which she is floating toward a light and sees the spirits of dead people clustered around. Afterward she finds herself uninterested in going back to her old life and feels compelled to investigate the nature of such experiences.
Meanwhile in San Francisco a former professional psychic (Matt Damon) is trying to make a new life for himself as a factory worker. He seems to have the ability, after touching people’s hands, to communicate with their dead loved ones, but he has come to regard the ability as a curse which cuts him off from humanity. He wants desperately to stop doing it an live a normal life.
And in London a young boy (Frankie and George McLaren) is distraught over the death of a family member and sets out on a quest to find out what happens after death.
Director Clint Eastwood takes his time bringing the three stories together, but he’s a skillful storyteller with well-drawn characters, so I found it an enjoyable trip. Given the setup some viewers may be expecting too much, like the actual answer to what happens when you die. Eastwood wisely does not attempt anything so ambitious. If your expectations are reasonable you may well enjoy this.