Genre: Drama
Synopsis: A group of individuals battle with what happens in the afterlife.
About: This is the Clint Eastwood/Steven Spielberg project.
Writer: Peter Morgan

Hmm, what do you say about Hereafter? I heard there was a “supernatural” element to the script, and that’s what intrigued me, but the truth is the supernatural plays a very tiny role in this story about death.

Hereafter starts off with a splash. Literally. Marie, 30s, a news personality, is in Thailand with her producer boyfriend. She goes down to the market because the boyfriend is too lazy to get birthday presents for his kids. While she’s looking at some jewelry, the infamous 2004 Tsunami hits. She drowns, and is technically dead for a few minutes, but is resuscitated by a group of rescuers. During death she saw something. A beautiful vibrant garden. A place that was undeniably special. The experience changes the way she sees everything.

We also meet George, an ex-psychic who’s trying to leave that life behind (he considers his “gift” a “curse”). And Marcus, a 12 year old boy who loses his twin brother in a violent car accident. George is sick of communicating with the dead because it prevents him from having a normal life. And Marcus, who never got to say goodbye to his brother, wants some sort of closure in the matter.

These three souls are very lost, each looking for a way to explain their experiences yet having no one that understands what they’re going through. They all feel very alone in the world.

I would say I enjoyed Hereafter…with reservations. The script has some major issues going on. First and foremost, it’s 60 pages of screenplay stretched out to 110. The story moves very very slowly. While the characters are compelling enough to warrant this glacier-esque momentum, it certainly doesn’t do the script any favors. The story sets up like it’s going to tackle the issue of the afterlife, but never does. I’m sure they could argue that it’s trying to mirror life (that there are no easy answers), but give me a break. This is a fucking movie. Give us some answers or give us a story. You can’t skirt around the issue for 110 pages without making the audience feel cheated.

In the end, the three main characters converge rather clumsily, and George reluctantly gives Marcus the closure he’s been looking for. But what about my closure? What about the feeling that I got something out of this? Apparently, this was ignored.

What bothered me was that this story really has the potential to be something. Psychics and near-death experiences and twins losing their brothers. There’s an awesome movie in there somewhere. I’m thinking Spielberg and Eastwood will tackle some of these issues in the rewrites. But if you ask me, I say cram everything into 60 pages, and write a whole new second half. No dilly-dallying. You tell us aspiring writers to do it. Shouldn’t be any different when you assign someone to write your idea.

[ ] trash
[x] barely readable
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned from Hereafter: Speed your damn story up. You don’t need nearly as much time to say something as you think you do.