Parents' Guide to

Here Before

By Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Emotional psychological thriller has language, adult themes.

Movie R 2022 83 minutes
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In this grief-stricken drama, Riseborough gives an award-worthy performance as Laura, a grieving mother who is offered a glimmer of hope for connection with her late daughter, Josie. As Laura becomes convinced that her neighbor's child is a reincarnation of Josie, Here Before sensitively presents Laura's interpretation of events as believable enough, while still posing questions about its logic. The cinematography helps create the slightly off-kilter atmosphere that explores whether it is the outside world where something feels amiss, or if that fracture is within Laura's own psyche. Intense close-ups, lingering long-shots, flashes of figures just out of frame, and abstract, disorienting images enhance the feeling of otherworldliness and sense of tension and impending dread. These emotions are made even more unnerving when scored with haunting children's songs.

Here Before steadily builds an intimate yet uneasy world, with great supporting performances all round -- particularly in Dornan, whose turn as Megan is smart, knowing, and beyond her years, leaning into the theme of reincarnation and older souls. Unfortunately the twist ending leaves things feeling a little flat. Coming and going far too quickly, it results in lingering questions that serve to break the spell in a way that doesn't quite pay off.

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