'Hereafter' Reviews Split -- Here's the Final Verdict

Sally Mercedes

Cecile De France Matt Damon
Cecile De France & Matt Damon in Hereafter
While everyone's flocking to watch Paranormal Activity 2, you may want to pop in to catch Hereafter, also opening this weekend.

The latest Clint Eastwood film, starring Matt Damon, deals with death and grieving. The early buzz was positive and the trailer looked good, but now critics and audiences are split.

Let's look at some of the reviews for Hereafter.

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel:

This wholly unsatisfying variation on “what lies beyond” shows him to be ill-suited to the subject and to the sort of tale that involves setting three disparate characters on a path toward one another for a finale that isn’t so much a pay off as a “Yeah, and?”

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times:

Clint Eastwood's "Hereafter" considers the idea of an afterlife with tenderness, beauty, and a gentle tact. I was surprised to find it enthralling.

The critics are so divided, they can't even agree on the opening scene ...

Richard Corliss, Time:

Clint Eastwood's Hereafter opens with the most exciting, expertly assembled flood scene in movie history. [...] Special-effects experts know that water is among the hardest computer-generated elements to render accurately, but this tsunami's power is utterly plausible.

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune:

The drama's problems begin to accumulate the second we're hit with a massive computer-generated tsunami better suited to "2012." [...] The scene cries out for an entirely subjective depiction, disorienting and scary; instead, we're handed an impersonally impressive digital-effects survey straight out of "The Day After Tomorrow."

The film's slow pace, the special effects, and the ending were all points of contention for the critics. Some reviews acknowledged that people will either see this as a masterpiece or a complete let-down, Eastwood fans and newcomers alike.

Split reviews are often a pain, but I think this time they've made it easy for us to decide:

If you think special effects should stay in action films or if you hate slow storytelling, skip it. I really like a slow pace and the acting is getting a lot of praise, so I'm sticking to the "See It" recommendation way back in our fall movie guide.

What do you make of the reviews? Will you be watching Hereafter this weekend?


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