September 24, 2011 § Leave a comment
“In the hands of a lesser director, Hereafter would be just another melodrama about people grappling with mortality and the meaning of death. But Eastwood manages to elevate the material, through a mixture of incredibly gorgeous visuals and keenly observed human moments, to the level of greatness. For a film that’s ostensibly about death, Hereafter is bursting with life. Everything from the terrible beauty of the drowned bodies in the tsunami’s waters to the C&H Cane Sugar factory where George works is beautifully observed, and the worlds that all three characters inhabit feel gorgeously realized.”
“Eastwood takes the supernatural film and renders it with the slow pace and gentleness of his Bridges of Madison County. The result is a new kind of fantasy film: one that’s more contemplative and soul-searching and less focused on big spectacle or huge discoveries.
In the end, Hereafter deliberately avoids giving us any huge answers about death, or about the afterlife — even though the afterlife is real in this film, it remains mysterious and unknowable. What we can know is the way that death affects our lives. There’s another world, in which everything we’ve lost and everything we fear is waiting, bathed in a white light that’s either disturbing or comforting, depending on how you look at it. This realm of the dead, which can’t help encroaching on the living, is always present, no matter what you believe. And, Eastwood suggests, you have to make peace with this land before you take up citizenship there.”