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Hereafter (2010)

Clint Eastwood’s recent films just keep getting better and better. I was really impressed with The Changeling, made in 2007.  His restrained directorial style made me like the film despite the fact that it stars Angelina Jolie, who isn’t exactly a favorite actress of mine.  I thought Gran Torino was a nearly perfect film. At the time Eastwood announced that it would be his last film as actor, but he said the same thing when he starred in his own Million Dollar Baby in 2004. As he was pushing 80, I assumed he would probably not make another film, expect maybe a few jazz documentaries. But Eastwood went on to direct Invictus, which I have not got around to seeing yet, and Hereafter, which adds a great deal to his work as a director.

Eastwood achieves a lot with Hereafter.  He made a film about the afterlife which is not religious—not an easy feat—and he brought together a complicated story set in four countries, with big portions set in Paris and London, cities where he has never worked, and with actors with very different backgrounds, and from different worlds as Eastwood. The biggest name on the cast Matt Damon, who plays the psychic who ties together the various threads of the story. But the real stand out in the cast is British actress Lyndsey Marshal, whom I knew from the TV show “Being Human,” where she plays a doctor who falls for a coworker she doesn’t know is a vampire. In Hereafter she plays the heroin-addicted mother of twins who loses one of her boys, and then the other. She is only on the screen a few minutes, but she brings a huge amount of emotional intensity to the film. The fact that Eastwood was able to direct scenes of actors speaking in French, and British English, and in American English, and get performances such as Marshal’s just makes his achievement all the more obvious.

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