**This review will contain spoilers**
Last night I watched the dvd of Hereafter, directed by Clint Eastwood. The movie is about 3 different people dealing with the concept of what happens after you die, the existence of an afterlife, etc. It's kind of an odd coincidence, I had this movie in my Netflix queue for a couple of months, long before my best friend died a week ago. Then I had returned another movie the day after she died and this was the next one that showed up in my mailbox. So I have been thinking a lot about life and death lately for obvious reasons, and it seemed like good timing to watch the movie.
There are three main characters in the movie, who don't know eachother. It's really 3 parallel stories. One of them is a French woman who has a near-death experience. Well not really "near", she basically dies, but then is resuscitated. She has a conversation with her lover, and asks him "what do you think happens after you die?"
He says, it's just lights out. Nothingness, the void. That's basically my feeling, at least it is what I have always hoped death would be (when thinking about my own death). I don't beleive in heaven or hell, reincarnation, or god. I don't want to go on or come back or any of that, I just want to cease to be. There's always been something very peaceful and comforting to me about that perfect nothingness.
But in the movie, all 3 characters have some evidence that there is something after. The woman has been there, and seen it. The man is a psychic, and can communicate with spirits of the dead. And the young boy has lost his twin brother and still feels a connection to him, the "ghost" of the twin saves him from a subway explosion.
Of the 3 stories, I found the little boy's story the most compelling. Before the twin brother dies, the movie did a wonderful job of establishing the very close and intuitive bond the brothers had with eachother, almost like two halves of one person. So when the older, more confident twin dies, you really feel the loss and grief of the other boy. The 2 child actors (twins in real life, obviously) were so good in this movie.
The ending was happy for all 3 characters, which was a relief after all the grief and sadness but was also a bit unrealistic, too "deus ex machina" for my taste. It would be nice if real life worked that way. I hope there is a happy ending for my friend's husband and children, some where down the road.
It did make me think about my friend who just died. I still don't beleive in an afterlife, but she definitely did. She was really into the paranormal, ghost hunting, stuff like that. She went on a ghost hunting weekend run by the TV show Paranormal State, which she was a big fan of. The memory of my friend will always live with me so that is a form of afterlife I guess, but I don't beleive in ghosts in the literal sense. But, I do think it's comforting to think of her still having some kind of presence to watch out over her young sons. I want them to have a thought of mommy as their guardian angel, or something like that. It's hard enough for most adults to contemplate nothingness, but a 2 year old and a 4 year old should not have to face it.
Anyway, I recommend the movie, it's very good. Clint Eastwood has turned out to be such a great director, who would have ever thought it after that low period with the monkey movies.