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Movie Review


MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images, and for brief strong language.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Supernatural Thriller
2 hr. 9 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 15, 2010 (select—6 theaters)
October 22, 2010 (wide—2,200+ theaters)
DVD: March 15, 2011
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

Death in the Bible

NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES—Who is the being of light encountered in near-death experiences? Answer

Is there an afterlife?

ETERNAL LIFE—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

The final judgment of God

Eternal death in the Bible



Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer

Resurrection of the dead

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

How good is good enough? Answer

Will all mankind eventually be saved? Answer

Where are the dead?



Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer

Contacting “the dead”

Can people really communicate with the dead? Answer

MALEVOLENT SPIRITS—Where do these dangerous, hostile, and evil entities come from? Answer


familiar spirits

What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

True hope
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on-line, full-length motion picture.

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer

How do we know the Bible is true? Answer



Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers
Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer
God’s Story Online home
Do you understand God’s Story? Take a multimedia journey through the Bible, from Creation to eternity. Hear and read an exciting summary of the Bible’s most important records, in chronological order.
Are you going to Heaven?
Are you going to Heaven? Are you SURE you know the answer this extremely important question? Or have you made some common wrong assumptions? Find out now!
Featuring: Matt Damon (George Lonegan), Bryce Dallas Howard (Melanie), Cécile De France (Marie LeLay), Thierry Neuvic (Didier), more »
Director: Clint Eastwood
Producer: The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Malpaso Productions, Clint Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy, Robert Lorenz, Frank Marshall, Tim Moore, Peter Morgan, Steven Spielberg
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Is there an afterlife?”

There’s at least one thing that all humans share: we’re delicately mortal. Despite this, we’ll often postpone thoughts of this grim fact and go about planning our hectic days in the always-expected tomorrow. Occasionally, a sudden death or well-covered catastrophe will soberly remind us of life’s brevity. While some might anger towards God, others are humbled and will sing songs of praise. In Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter,” the topic is death and the afterlife. What happens when someone dies? Do all lights go out or is there something more?

The movie revolves around three characters and how they all uniquely deal with death. There’s George (Matt Damon), an awkwardly social, but gentle man who can genuinely speak to the dead and even see visions upon touching someone. Abandoning the rich life his psychic ability brought, he happily settles with a 9-to-5 job. Though George’s brother greedily insists on the continuation of readings, George views his ability as more of a curse.

On opposite spectrums are Marie (Cécile De France) and Marcus (Frankie/George McLaren). Marie is a successful and beautiful French reporter. While on vacation, her life unexpectedly changes, when she is caught and drowned by a massive tsunami. Before being resuscitated, she has a near-death experience and is unable to resume her normal life.

When pressured to take time off, she begins to research near-death experiences and soon becomes ostracized for digging deep in what’s considered to be a taboo subject.

On the other hand, Marcus has almost nothing, save the relationship with his identical twin, Jason. Together, they maintain some semblance of a home and ward off Child Services as their mother remains a drug addict. When Jason dies, Marcus is left utterly alone and desperately seeks how to contact his brother.

Viewing films of this kind requires a particular taste. “Hereafter” is primarily character driven, a quiet, self-learning journey with little action. Though their fates are destined to intertwine, time is taken to manifest each character’s passage with meaningful subtleties. With this said, some viewers may find the film’s over two-hour run especially tedious. Though occasionally slow, the acting is top notch. Barely taking ten minutes of screen time, Bryce Dallas Howard emerges as one of the better performances in the film.

“Hereafter” seemingly attempts to remain neutral on the topic of the afterlife. There’s no mention of God, and Marcus briefly watches a YouTube clip of a Muslim and Christian speaking of death. With the exception of these two clips, no religion is debated or mentioned. Even Marie’s boyfriend oddly looks at her when she asks what he believes happens after one dies, as if he himself had never thought of it before.

However, the film does expressly point out how humans desperately long to communicate with their deceased loved ones. Some time is even taken to poke fun at the absurd slew of self-proclaimed mediums that take advantage of this notion.

FAQ: Can people really communicate with the dead? Answer

In the film, the “hereafter” is a hazy-like room where clusters of people simply walk around without any worries about judgment or accountability for wrongdoings (Hebrews 9:27). George’s psychic abilities are also portrayed as being real. Though the film does depict George as unhappy after consultations, his readings are sometimes shown in a positive, soothing light. The most touching story is that of Marcus and how he desperately seeks a way to communicate with his dead brother. The stellar script and performances make it easy to yearn for Marcus to find a way to reach Jason, so that he may have closure and move on. Despite any intent, one must never attempt to communicate with the dead. In Isaiah 8:19-20, it reads:

“And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Besides the heavy topic of death, “Hereafter” has relatively low offensive content. There are about 5 profanities, including 2 sh*t, B.S., 1 “f” word, cr*p, G*d (2), “Oh my G*d.”

One character is shown waking up next to her boyfriend and briefly shown in her undergarments in two scenes as she dresses. Refreshingly, there aren’t any sex scenes, and the film’s one kissing scene is sweet, rather than passionate.

I don’t personally recommend the film. The first hour was rather enjoyable with the establishment of characters and their journeys. As the movie progressed, however, the speaking with the dead became a bit redundant, along with the false sense of closure and hope it brought to one of the characters. True peace and hope comes in believing in Christ and searching out the will of God. Romans 15:13 remains one of my favorite verses of God-filled hope:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—The movie was very sweet, I actually thought there was going to be more paranormal things in it. Another person mentioned “after several near death accidents he becomes psychic, but they never really tell why,” that’s not true at all. He explains exactly when it started and how it started. It’s a little heart felt, there were only a few cuss words. ***MINIMAL SPOILERS*** The violence was minimal, tsunami, a child gets hit by a car, and an train explosion, but that is not really seen. ***END SPOILER***

All and all it was a pretty good movie, just tugged at your heart. :)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kristi B, age 34 (USA)
Positive—My husband and I saw “Hereafter” last night. It is not Biblical. Really couldn’t find God in the film. But, the premise was that even with evidence, people do want to hear about a hereafter. To many it becomes offensive. A character in the film claims that she was an atheist; but, in her job as a Doctor, had seen too much evidence from dying patients to deny a hereafter.

The film was a little distracting with subtitles in places where characters spoke a language other than English. Not for children. Probably would recommend it. But, I would wait for DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Bev, age 64 (USA)
Positive—I found this to be a very beautiful, thoughtful film. I know many Christians would probably balk at a story about the afterlife, especially as there is hardly any mention of God or faith of any kind. However, I found nothing offensive or creepy about it. I would recommend it to Christians who have an open mind about such things. I found it quite refreshing, actually, that the filmmakers raised provoking questions; but didn’t try to push any answers on you, or declare one belief to be right and all others to be wrong.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Laura Winding, age 19 (USA)
Positive—The images and ideas presented in the film “Hereafter” remained with me long after viewing the film. This is the mark of a good film, one that makes the viewer think over his/her own beliefs. I would recommend seeing this film. There are themes to discuss afterwards with family/friends, as well as the opportunity to evaluate your own beliefs about life after death, and how others around you view it.

I did find one scene—a Christian’s “YouTube” video—giving the message of Christ being our security for life after death. … a clear statement that the filmmakers do not believe He is our answer! The film did affirm the truth of life after death and anyone walking away from this film would hopefully be struck by this theme and want to think of what this means to them.

Again, this is a powerful film that has many worthy discussion points.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Elizabeth, age 48 (USA)
Positive—Even without the scientific and theological evidence presented by various experts and proponents of death and near-death experiences, there is ample evidence made available through the senses. As human beings, we can all see trees, snakes, cows, other people, and countless other examples of sensory based evidence. Many do not consider the “evidence” that we are all exposed to simply by being alive. I believe that ordinary sensory evidence is the most compelling of all. How can any rational being deny the impact of purposeful design present in everyday life?

The Irish Cleric and empirical philosopher Bishop George Berkeley was most persuasive in his arguments for a “mental” or “spiritual” reality. The logic of his arguments are self-evident, and to this day, cannot be dismissed by even the most vitriolic of skeptics. Berkeley, of course, assigns the stability of reality to the intervening mind of God. In terms of reason and empirical evidence, Berkeley makes an convincing explanation based on common sense and everyday sensory experience. I believe that what we all see, hear, smell, and taste combine to make the most believable argument of all.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Jerry Johnson, age 72 (USA)
Neutral—Well, there is no doubt that Clint Eastwood is a master film maker… I think this will escape most viewers who have been emotionally seared like burned toast by years of Cable, commercials, and a fast paced life and therefore rendered unable to realize the high and dramatic art which has been achieved by this engrossing and lovely movie…

The film’s editing combined with the perfect music (Clint’s creation) enjoin to create an elegant pageantry of beautiful scenes in this movie which Eastwood has obviously fashioned with a master’s golden touch… From the opening to the ending, you just float along from beautiful scene to the next with such ease…

It’s such a pleasure to realize this at the same time you are watching this reveal itself before you onscreen…

So, now, having said all that, and, of course, with fountains of praise for the attractive French actress “Marie” who is the gentle driving soul of the movie and high praise kudos to Matt Damon for not getting in the way during the movie, and a final hats off to the amazing boy brothers for offering such a remarkable glimpse at their special love,… let me now tell you what you won’t like, if you are a Christian… You won’t like the single and unecessary “G-D_M” that came along to bump up the rating, and you won’t like the fact that Marie undresses down to her bra and panties for no reason other then marketing her to the masses and to bump up the rating, and, of course, you won’t like that this movie is an attempt by Clint to reconcile and promote his chosen atheism the sweetest way he can dictatorially on screen one last timer before he dies… Other then that, the movie is a beautiful piece of film… enjoy.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kyle, age 42 (USA)
Negative—My wife and I walked out about midway through this film. It was too dark and depressing to watch, and the way the afterlife was portrayed was so far off from Christianity that even mature Christians will probably not be able to stomach it. Perhaps if we would have stayed, there might have been something to redeem the film, but life is too short to sit through a depressing film like this. The acting was very good, and I generally think Clint Eastwood films are high quality (for example, “Grand Torino”), but I would recommend passing on this one.
—Jim, age 54 (USA)
Negative—“Hereafter” is a movie which is typical of its genre. Although the movie didn’t address any particular religious view (with the exception of a nod to Islam and Christianity, which was a little mocking), it did promote what many people claim to experience through NDE’s (near death experience). “Hereafter” also takes a look at the culture’s current heightened interest in mediums and the paranormal.

As a former medium and ghost hunter, I thought the depiction of George was interesting, although his ability was a little unrealistic. His method of “connection” was very stereotypical Hollywood, but I understand why they did it that way. I did like the fact that the movie addressed the number of charlatans and money grabbers who claim to be psychics or mediums. They also presented that George himself considered the ability to be a curse, and that it can be a genuine ability from a dubious, unknown source. Of course, they also presented the idea that such ability is a “gift” (presumably from God).

The most important thing Christians who see this film to remember is that God FORBIDS communication with the dead, consulting with mediums and psychics. Period. We are not to seek out mediums, spiritists, conjurers, seek the ability ourselves, etc. In my opinion, ghost hunters can be included in these categories. We are not to seek out the dead.

I personally do not think Christians should go see this movie, unless they are mature enough in their faith and know what the Bible says about life after death, avoiding mediums and the occult, etc. The movie certainly has a “feel good” or “sweet” quality to it, but what it espouses is contrary to a Biblical understanding of life and death. *For more information of why we should avoid mediums, ghosts, etc. I write a blog about these topics from my past experiences and why they are so spiritually dangerous.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Kristine, age 45 (USA)
Negative—Waste of over 2 hours. I can’t believe Matt and Clint put their name on this movie. Nothing to show Christ. Extremely low budget. Looked like this would have some action, but it is shown entirely in its preview. Don’t waste your money or time. I wouldn’t even rent.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Greg Snook, age 43 (USA)
Negative—This is quite simply one of the most boring films I have ever taken the time to watch. (I am not a person with a low boredom threshold, either.) After the opening scene, there basically is no action. One can see what the ultimate end of the movie is going to be from close to the beginning. The implausibility of the three main characters lives’ weaving together is an incredible, unbelievable stretch. I can see some absolute skeptics benefiting from watching this movie. Other than that, don’t waste your time! Most movies are better than this one!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Stuart Rigall, age 58 (USA)
Comments from young people
Neutral—This movie is alright, in the spiritual area of this movie. The problem is with Matt Damon’s character. After his near-death experience many times in one accident. He awoke with psychic powers. But you are not sure where they came from exactly and how he got them.

Content: There is some language throughout the movie, not very much. No sexual content in the movie. Violent content contains a couple of intense sequences. Not very graphically depicted. When there was a giant wave hitting the island and ***SPOILER*** when a young boy (one of the main characters) gets hit by a truck crossing the street.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Mark, age 16 (USA)
Neutral—…it was a good movie overall. The story is a little hard to follow at times and it has many slow parts that will lose your attention. The characters were played very well by the actors/actresses, and the effects were good. It is simply not a movie for action lovers. There is no objectionable content that exceeds a kiss or two. The profanity is at a medium level.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Amanda, age 14 (USA)