One of the most striking things about Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter is that it seems defiant to fit into a specific genre. With its opening tsunami sequence could come expectations of a disaster flick. Then we see the sparkling romance of a French couple. Over and over, we are introduced to new characters and worlds that differ greatly.
Hereafter borders the genres of drama, thriller, sci-fi, and romance, yet it never settles into one of them. It is not a disaster film. Even though the first hour seems sluggish, the second half is very rewarding. There is a great deal of romantic chemistry between Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard, though their relationship never reaches any visible conclusion.
All the performers are very good, especially Damon, playing a reluctant psychic trying to find his purpose in life. Against what one might expect, he is not fully given the spotlight. Eastwood gives equal screen time to French actress, Cecile De France, here acting as a French T.V. journalist.
In the end, writer Peter Morgan leaves the audience with a bitter longing. I won’t ruin the conclusion, it is a sweeping and enchanting finale, but it remains one that does not answer all the questions. A two hour and ten minute movie should be resolved a little more. But this also adds to Hereafter‘s uniqueness. It remains realistic by the way people come and go and opportunities appear and dissolve. The addition of psychics makes such a movie even more unpredictable.