Review: 'Hereafter' is very sad, but good

LOS ANGELES In "Hereafter," Matt Damon plays a psychic who believes his abilities to communicate with the dead are a curse, not a blessing.

He gives up doing readings to try and lead a normal life. His story, plus one involving twin boys in England, and another about a French journalist all deal with the "Hereafter," whatever that might be.

The journalist survives a deadly tsunami and has visions about her experience.

"Hereafter" is a heavy movie. It deals with tragedy in many forms and you know that within the first five minutes.

I found myself feeling intense sadness as I watched these storylines play out, hoping for some happiness along the way. So if you're feeling down this wouldn't be the movie to see.

Otherwise, Matt Damon is terrific, turning in a subtle yet powerful performance as a man who really wants to find peace in his life.

All three stories are gripping, poignant, but tough.

With the exception of the big tsunami, Eastwood keeps it simple and thoughtful, relying on story over special effects. And he helps us understand the desperation people feel when they are in unbearable pain.

In a small role, the always versatile Jenifer Lewis cranks out a big performance.

The studio put Lewis in the trailer and in one of the four clips it provided she's only in the movie for about a minute. The actress knows how to take a role and squeeze it for all it's worth. When her moment is over, her pain lingers. One day she'll land a part that's going to get her an Oscar.

"Hereafter" is a strong and poignant film, but there's a lot of sadness in it. It's emotionally exhausting at times, but it is a very good movie.

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