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"Hereafter" Movie Review: Special Thanks To Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, Peter Morgan & Steven Spielberg For Getting It Right
by Bob Olson (founder of OfSpirit.com Magazine, BestPsychicMediums.com & BestPsychicDirectory.com)

My wife, Melissa, and I saw the movie Hereafter this past weekend and I must say we loved it. Iíll even admit that we saw it a second time the next night, which is entirely out of character for us. But thereís something about this movie that inspired us to want to see it again.

Hereafter, the movie, stars Matt Damon, was directed and produced by Clint Eastwood (also produced by Steven Spielberg), and was written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon). With a lineup like that, you expect itís going to be a good movie. But itís important to know what this is movie is and is not about before you see it, which is why Iíve written this review. 

Hereafter IS a movie about death and the afterlife. It tells three stories: one of a psychic medium who feels burdened by his ability to communicate with spirits, one of a woman who has a near-death experience during a tsunami, and one of a boy who is trying to make sense of the loss of his twin brother. Any one of these three storylines could have made a fascinating movie in itself, but teaming the three together was inspired. 

Hereafter IS NOT a movie that provides definitive answers about the afterlife. Neither Clint Eastwood nor Peter Morgan claim to have any such answers. If thatís what youíre seeking, youíre best to get answers through personal experience. I recommend a private reading with a psychic medium (spirit communicator), a past-life regression, a life-between-lives regression (also known as a spiritual regression), or get a portrait drawn of your deceased loved one in spirit by a spirit artist. 

This IS NOT your typical Hollywood movie filled with violence, action, sex and rock íní roll. After the initial tsunami scene at the beginning of the movieóone of only two fast-paced scenes in the movieóHereafterís pace is unhurried. I use the word ďunhurriedĒ because I happened to appreciate the movieís pace, but some people might employ the word ďslow.Ē Yet I have no doubt that this unhurried tone was implemented with purpose, as the slowness and quietude of the filming sets the mood for a story about the hereafter. 

Moreover, the filmmaking is extraordinary if you like that foreign-film quality, which I do. Eastwood is exercising his artistic expression in mood and visual splendor. No shot was filmed without careful attention to artistic detail. Since the three stories take place in the United States, France and England, the style of filming is both appropriate and visually appealing. 

What I loved most about the movie was that someoneóeither Damon, Eastwood and/or Morganódid their research and got their details correct about the field of afterlife evidence. Matt Damon, for example, plays the psychic medium. The readings given by Damonís character are right on mark. Iíve tested many psychic mediums who gave me readings exactly in this same style and manner. There was nothing over cooked or methodologically inaccurate in the characterís portrayal of psychic mediumship (spirit communication), although the readings were shorter than the typical 30-to-60-minute readings youíd get for a fee. 

Although Damonís character touches people in order to receive his psychic messages, it should be noted that most psychic mediums donít need to touch you in order to give a reading, which is why readings can be delivered by phone. While there are psychic mediums who do like to hold your hands prior to a reading, this isnít a necessary or even common approach. Also, Damonís character tended to express a slight jolt in his body whenever he touched someone to make a connection with spirit, which doesnít really occur with mediumship; but this is a minor criticism, as itís the only Hollywood exaggeration I noticed in the movie, and itís so mildly accentuated that few will ever notice it. 

With all Iíve written about Damonís portrayal of the psychic medium, itís important to emphasize that this IS NOT a movie about psychic mediums. Iíve talked to a few psychic mediums who have seen Hereafter, and the most common comment from them is that they felt the movie could have presented more information about mediumship. I would have agreed if this movie was about psychic mediums, but itís not. This movie is about the question of life after death and it merely uses a psychic medium as a character within the story. 

Iím sure that if I talked with people who have had near-death experiences, they too would feel that the movie could have done more to educate the public about near-death experiences. But this IS NOT a movie about near-death experience. It merely uses a character who has a near-death experience in order to tell a story about death and the afterlife. 

Since Iím on the subject of what this movie is not, I should also mention that Hereafter IS NOT a movie intending to cleverly bring three peopleís lives from three different countries together. If you liked the movie Crash, or if youíre old enough to remember Grand Canyon, then this is not one of those lives-overlapping-by-divine-coincidence movies. Yes, the three charactersí lives do intertwine in Hereafter, but not in any magical or profound manner. Coincidental connection IS NOT the point of Hereafter. 

Hereafter IS a movie about the complications of being gifted, about processing spiritual experiences, and about connecting with loved ones in spirit. Without giving too much of the movie away, the psychic medium sees his gift as a curse, the woman who had the near-death experience is challenged with people believing what she experienced, and later with talking about her experience without ruining her career, and the boy, who is emotionally desperate for a connection with his brother, simply has trouble finding a legitimate practitioner to help him. 

This is the brilliance of Hereafter, as these are the true challenges of everyday people in real life who are faced with these same experiences. 

I know many psychic mediums will relate to the struggle of Damonís character, at least at some point along their journey. The psychicís predicament to ignore his ability in order to live a normal life is typical. I compare this to the dilemma of fame. At first it feels like a blessing, but too much too fast can feel like a curse. 

New psychic mediums generally love the attention they get due to their gift when they first begin giving readings. Over time, however, as they grow professionally, they often learn to be less forthright about their vocation with strangers, tending to dance around the subject until they get a stronger sense of oneís religious beliefs or open-mindedness to their ability. I havenít met many psychic mediums who outright ignore their ability in order to live normally, but then again, I guess I probably wouldnít meet them if they were keeping their abilities secret. 

Cťcile de France plays the woman who dies and comes back to life during the tsunami. The movie illustrated with accuracy the challenges wrought after having a near-death experience. The number one challenge for people who have died for seconds or minutes, experienced the afterlife, and then returned to their physical bodies after being revived is not being believed by others once they share their afterlife experiences openly. Instead, near-death experiencers are too often met with skepticism and even scorn for talking about their experiences out loud. The movie even demonstrates how many near-death experiencers find that their values have changed, which can side rail oneís prior plans for the future. Although subtle in its approach, Hereafter touches upon these life-changing consequences with precision. 

As for the boyís story, anyone who knows grief will likely relate to this young manís struggle. What I loved most about this story was how the boy visited with a handful of practitioners, yet unsuccessfully. I had similar experiences in the early days of my own investigation of this field. When you donít know where to go or who is legitimate, you bounce around like a pinball hoping to smack into a credible practitioner. Whatís even better is that the filmmakers leave the interpretation up to the movie viewer as to whether these spiritual practitioners are merely inadequately gifted or flat-out phonies. The truth is that itís not always easy to know. 

Any experienced moviegoer will know that the three characters are destined to cross paths at some point in the movie. But, as I mentioned, this is not the magic of this film, although it does a decent job in this regard. As much as people love seeing the clever ways that people cross paths along their journeys, this movie crosses much higher mountains. It suggests that there really are truly gifted psychic mediums in this world in spite of the charlatans. It suggests that there might actually be an afterlife as evidenced by people who have had near-death experiences. And it suggests that if you are persistent enough in your efforts, you might actually be able to find a way to connect with your loved ones in spirit. Thatís a lot to accomplish for two hours of film. And while many people will wish it answered more of their questions about life after death, I think that Eastwood and Morgan were insightful to not even try. 

Hereafter is a controversial movie with moviegoers either loving it or feeling disappointed by it. There arenít too many who fall in the middle. But itís not the filmmakers who let anyone down. People who feel disappointed by the movie allowed their expectations to let them down, not because the movie promised to do anything more than tell a great story and get people thinking, but because people crave to know the truth about life after death and look to others to provide the answers. Many hope Hereafter will do that for them. 

The second time Melissa and I went to see Hereafter, we went with a bunch of friends. During dinner before the movie, there was much discussion about death. People were sharing stories amongst the group about the details of their parentsí deaths. And this was before they ever saw the movie. Little did they realize that the movie had already succeeded to incite discussions about a subject that is traditionally unspoken in our society. And for that aloneónotwithstanding the beauty in story and on filmóthe movie is a huge success in my point of view. 

I highly recommend it. 

Warmly, 

Bob Olson

OfSpirit.com, BestPsychicMediums.com & BestPsychicDirectory.com

Copyright © 2010 Bob Olson

For more articles by Bob Olson, visit www.ofspirit.com/bobolson.htm 

____________________

A former skeptic & private investigator, Bob Olson has been an Afterlife Investigator & Psychic Medium Researcher since 1999. In 1997, Bob Olsonís father died of lung cancer at the age of 64. Bob was just 35. The event ignited spiritual questions for Bob that heíd never before considered. Is there life after death? If so, what evidence exists to prove it? And, if one could prove the existence of an afterlife, was it also possible to know if our deceased loved ones exist in this afterlife, if they are okay, and if they are watching over us? Bob decided to use his skills as a private investigator to obtain answers, and this was the catalyst for Bobís investigation into the afterlife.

In his search for evidence of the afterlife, Bob has tested hundreds of psychics, mediums & other afterlife-related practitioners. Bob is the host of AFTERLIFE TV, founder of BEST PSYCHIC DIRECTORY and BEST PSYCHIC MEDIUMS, and offers his PSYCHIC MEDIUM WORKSHOP to help psychics and mediums improve their abilities and business. Visit Bob on AFTERLIFE TV's FACEBOOK page & on TWITTER. And don't miss Bob's new book titled ANSWERS ABOUT THE AFTERLIFE.

 

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