Warner Bros Rated PG-13
Octogenarian Clint “Make My Day” Eastwood is now more into cameras shooting people instead of guns, and appears to be shedding his tough guy persona the more he directs, as he segues into aspirations in art over action as evidenced in the brooding, borderline occult afterlife drama, Hereafter. Or to put it another way, Make My Daydream.
Mixing mortality, meds, mysticism and migraines, Hereafter is a globetrotting narrative intertwining the telepathic experiences of three characters as they venture beyond the grave to make contact with deceased humans. Central to these often disturbing excursions is George (Matt Damon), a reluctant San Francisco blue collar psychic whose gift of communing with the dead has made him rather popular with séance-seeking mourners. But the constant demands of the grieving to contact their departed kin has left George feeling lonely and miserable—when not freakish—and seeking nightly solace listening to somber Charles Dickens audio books as a way to lull himself to sleep.
Meanwhile, French television newscaster Marie (Cecile de France) gets caught in an explosively depicted, devastating tsunami when vacationing in the Pacific and is convinced while nearly drowning she spent some time among the dead. Much to the dismay of her bosses back at the station, she takes time off from her duties to write about it in a book she’s titled Hereafter. Then there’s Marcus (played by twins George and Frankie McLaren), a London schoolboy in foster care in a frustrating search for a psychic who can put him in touch with his recently deceased twin brother.
While Hereafter crosses back and forth into a multinational, bilingual afterlife, Eastwood never—thankfully—crosses the line into religious doctrine, keeping the lyrical pace primarily whimsical and in the realm of secular conjecture and reverie. Unfortunately, the movie is somewhat too reliant on coincidental narration even as the story seems to ultimately lose its way, much like the confused and despondent characters stuck in thematic tsunamis of their own. But there is always a deeply felt sense along the way that Eastwood is perhaps externalizing his own inner turmoil about aging through a movie touching on the enigma of mortality, and it never feels less than genuine.