The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
Hereafter confronts a topic that could have descended into mawkish, mystical hokum, but not in Eastwood's no-nonsense, uncynical hands. He looks at death, and beyond, with clear, open, inquisitive eyes.
The last 30 minutes of the film hint at what it might have been if someone had whipped that script into shape; the idea of exploring experiences of the afterlife was a great one, and Eastwood certainly has the vision to pull it off.
It isn't a film fixated on death so much as what comes after and how that affects the living, the type of subject typically treated in films as a theoretical conceit, but one that Eastwood pursues with his trademark straightforward style.
Hollywood once upon a time made films exploring these kinds of issues, but in today's climate only a filmmaker like Eastwood, determined to never do the same thing twice, would have the nerve and the clout to take it on.
This is no tale of paranormal activity. It offers no clear-cut answers on life after death. Rather, it calmly examines death, grief and melancholy, packing an unexpectedly profound emotional gut-punch.
Hereafter makes no grand statement about life after death. It's just Eastwood pondering the subject, as any thoughtful person might, and inviting us to think along with him. It's hard to pass up so sincere an offer.
Eastwood weaves between these disparate yet intrinsically connected story lines smoothly and without hurry. The pacing may feel a bit too languid, but it allows us to get to know these characters by observing who they are as opposed to what they do.
The bafflement that comes with loss is certainly a strong enough emotion to get a story moving, but, by turning to spiritualism, visions, and the afterlife, Morgan has wandered into hokum without illuminating grief.
The movie will divide some Eastwood fans, conquer others. The naysayers will be grateful that, from this healthy, workaholic actor-director, there is always the promise of a good movie -- if not here, then hereafter.