Sunday, October 24, 2010


The Film: Hereafter

The Actors: Matt Damon, Cecille De France, Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, Derek Jacobi, etc.

The Dealio: Clint Eastwood- the director, Clint Eastwood- fashions a pretty thoughtful, and thought-provoking, film from the question below.
Three very different people come together on that point, and it changes the way they will continue their lives, once they are forced to confront the answers.
Damon plays George, a socially inert blue-collar worker, once a bonafide seer. His specialty, if you can call it that, resulted from a childhood illness. He is quick to remind those who yammer on about his 'gift' that, no, it is not a gift- it is a curse. He clasps hands with a stranger, and immediately, there is an arc of visual and emotional connectivity. In the past, the severity of his reaction to these connects caused him so much pain, he responded by shutting down, in every possible way, and sought relief in the least demanding of jobs.
DeFrance is Marie, a French journalist and media darling, vacationing in a tropical paradise (let's just call it 'Thailand', shall we?), when a tsunami hits, with widely publicised results. Caught in the throes of the wave, and presumably dead for several minutes, she surfaces to find that pretty much everything she thought she knew, valued and wanted for herself as been swept away in the wake of the gigantic, destructive wave.
Marcus is one half of a pair of physically all-but-identical twins of about 10 years, who is struggling desperately to figure things out without his dominant older brother.
All three who are desperate for answers, receive the usual socially acceptable response by would-be helpful others, 'It was meant to be', 'They are in a better place', 'There is nothing you could have done', 'They would have wanted you to move on,' etc. None of them are willing to buy any of this, and therein hangs the tale.

The Grading Session: 4.59 pengies out of 5. High marks for the trademark avid devotion CE puts into his soundtracks. This is one I will buy in future.
The work all the actors turned in was impeccable- although, in the first few encounters with the grieving, bereft Marcus, I felt a certain hesitancy and stiffness not noticeable when the twins interacted. Perhaps this was due to lack of experience, or maybe it was direction (as in, 'your character would find it very difficult to deal with adults after such and such an experience. Go with that'). This kvetch disappeared as soon as I got into the story and allowed myself to be swept along in the current. There were, also, numerous grace notes that I really savored: the cooking class was one such and added immeasurably to the texture and depth of the characters.

Lessons Learned: There appears to be a societal shelf life to grief and grief recovery: people will give you only a limited amount of time to 'get over it' before they lose patience and are ready to give your discomforting and messy emotions a wide berth. And then they, themselves, do move forward.
Next: No matter how secure you think things are, that security is an illusion: there is always another flavor of the month queued up, ready to roll over you, leaving you scrambling to find level ground again.
Lastly: Martha Keller is still making movies. Who knew?

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