Hereafter

I believe Clint Eastwood's enduring legacy as a director will be a catalog of films that are, collectively, a tribute to human decency in spite of human frailty. Eastwood appears to be drawn to stories about damaged people caught up in circumstances of their own contrivance or those created by nature or fate.

And so we... have Hereafter, which appears to be Eastwood's treatment of that imponderable question, "What's Next?" ~ and all three reasons for human misery are on display. Matt Damon, the co-star with Morgan Freeman of Eastwood's Invictus (2009), is George Lonegan, a psychic who has been gifted with the ability to speak to the dearly departed by touching the hands of a survivor.

This curse, as Lonegan calls it, has made it difficult for him to form lasting relationships and so he is resigned to a life of lonely bachelorhood until ... . The script by Peter Morgan. who wrote Frost/Nixon and The Last King of Scotland, also features the stories of a French journalist (the beautiful Cecile de France [is that her real name?]) and a London school boy (played by the twins Frankie and George McLaren), both of whom have had close encounters with death -- the journalist during a tsunami (the creation of which is an impressive cinematic feat) and the boy as he watches his twin die after being hit by truck.

Eastwood and Morgan bring the three characters together in a final reel that is teary (an Eastwood signature move) and ultimately uplifting (ditto). The question "What's Next" is not answered but, in the end, that's really not the point of the film, which is actually to get viewers to ask ourselves "What About Now?"

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