Hereafter

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Hereafter Movie Poster Image
Intense drama asks what comes after death.
  • PG-13
  • 2010
  • 126 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Though the movie's themes are heavy, it has a somewhat hopeful message about life after death. Nobody is vilified in the film for either believing or not believing in the idea of the hereafter. There’s also a longing for connection that rings true.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Marie is fearless; when faced with incredulity about what she thinks comes after death, she sets out to make her case rather than giving in to avoid confrontation. George is somewhat closed off, but his attempts at being social are notable. The bond between Marcus and his brother is admirable and moving. These three don’t stop searching, which makes them fascinating to watch.

Violence

The movie opens with a frighteningly realistic portrayal of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that claimed thousands of lives. Viewers see the water sweeping into the coast and engulfing homes and people, including a woman who gets hit by a vehicle. Another scene shows a boy being run over by a car as he tries to escape the clutches of a bullying mob. Frank discussion of death and how some people die; one character brings up a secret about sexual abuse.

Sex

Couples flirt, embrace, and kiss.

Language

Limited use of "s--t" and "f--k," plus "crap," "oh my God," and more.

Consumerism

Product names/labels shown include Nikon, Coca-Cola, Vicks, Virgin, and BlackBerry.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One woman is an addict; her arms are shown with syringe marks. Some social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Clint Eastwood-directed drama (which stars Matt Damon) deals with the weighty subjects of death and the afterlife and may prove too intense for tweens and younger teens. At moments -- especially when examining how death affects those left behind -- it’s steeped in melancholy; one child even loses his twin brother. The first 10 minutes (which recreate 2004's horrific tsunami) are realistically terrifying; there are also other upsetting sequences involving a car accident, some swearing (including "f--k"), and a character who's addicted to drugs. Still, the movie tackles its tough subjects with empathy and raises significant questions about faith and grief.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous October 8, 2017
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byFunkyMonkey April 17, 2011

It Was OK

This was a very moving movie. Though it is pretty frightning because it has intese scenes. Also kids might be afraid of the idea of talking to the dead.
Teen, 14 years old Written byAntRose June 10, 2018

It's Awsome.

Parents don't let younger teens or kids watch it. Only older teens or adults watch it. It will scare the little kids. And so much death in it.
Teen, 13 years old Written byFILMCRITIC500 September 20, 2012

great, expertly created movie explores life and death through graphic ways

this sweeping drama from Clint Eastwood is very intersesting and will raise many questions about life and death. but to get to those, you must endure a 2 hour s... Continue reading

What's the story?

Famous French broadcaster Marie (Cecile de France) nearly dies when a monumental tsunami engulfs the resort town in which she and her lover are vacationing; for all intents and purposes, she was dead, but she's revived after being fished out of the water. In San Francisco, George (Matt Damon) is a psychic who’s no longer practicing his craft; doing so exhausts and saddens him, much to the chagrin of his brother (Jay Mohr), who thinks he’s brilliant at it and should make a living off his otherwordly skills. In England, 11-year-old Marcus (Frankie McLaren) is beside himself when his twin brother (George McLaren) is plowed down by a car, leaving him alone to deal with life and his drug-addicted mother. They may be from different countries and hold disparate world views, but all three characters are struggling to figure out whether there's an afterlife -- and if so, how to reconcile it with the here and now.

Is it any good?

HEREAFTER is compelling enough to stick with you long after you watch it. It’s earnest, serious, and inquisitive -- all good things in a movie, and certainly more than what you get in most movies nowadays. The actors are on their game, and director Clint Eastwood displays the same surety we’ve seen in his previous endeavors. He allows scenes to linger where other directors might have moved on from lack of confidence (or vision); he knows how to frame a shot so that we can’t take our eyes away.

But the film spends much of its currency almost immediately, staging an awe-inspiring and frighteningly realistic version of the tsunami that wrecked the Asian continent and claimed so many lives in late 2004. There’s such terror and immediacy in the first 10 minutes that what follows, by comparison, lacks power. Also, Damon’s George has a sluggish storyline and is maddeningly accepting of the isolation that his special skills bring him; when he finally moves to change his course, it almost doesn’t ring true. And though Eastwood appears to have a point of view on the afterlife, we’re left with more questions than answers. To paraphrase the song, “Alfie”: What is it all about, after all? Is it just for the moment we live?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages. What is it saying about the afterlife/hereafter? Is it trying to convince viewers to believe something specific?

  • Can you think of other movies that have imagined the afterlife? How does this one compare?

  • Were any parts of the movie upsetting/alarming? Why?

Movie details

  • In theaters: October 15, 2010
  • On DVD or streaming: March 15, 2011
  • Cast: Cecile De France, Jay Mohr, Matt Damon
  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 126 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images, and for brief strong language
  • Last updated: September 21, 2019

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