A small community is torn apart by a tragic accident which kills most of the town’s children. A lawyer visits the victims’ parents in order to profit from the tragedy by stirring up the their anger and launching a class action suit against anyone they can blame.
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I don’t like Egoyan’s language, use of music, meaningless construction, false modesty. Ian Holmes is a bad person from the get go and will never have a chance to redeem himself. Sarah Polley, good actress, has the confusing last act where we get the impression that she saved something (her dignity ?) by lying. The air is never cleared about the incest storyline. Craftsmanship alone isn’t enough at a certain point.
The Sweet Hereafter is a masterpiece and one of best films ever made on the subject of grief and mourning. It's the first Atom Egoyan film I've seen and now I'm going to watch the rest of his work. I'm not sure what else to write about it other than watching it was akin to having one's own heart being ripped out in front of you. It's that emotionally brutal.
Egoyan's most accomplished artistic achievement; the subtleties here are mesmerizing. A film this patiently paced and underplayed has no business being so gripping. Ian Holm, Sarah Polley and particularly Bruce Greenwood round out a powerful cast full of career-best performances.
Because we've all lost our children. They're dead to us. They're killing each other in the streets. They wander, comatose...shopping malls. Something terrible has happened. It's taken our children away. It's too late. They're gone.
Imagine if the tragedies of Fargo were played with a straight face, it might give you an idea of The Sweet Hereafter, a film that has no qualms showing you people in terrible situations who may or may not be terrible people themselves...or maybe that distinction is irrelevant. Sarah Polley is something else in this.
A succinctly and perceptively structured meditation on mortality and tragedy that repeatedly hits the right emotional notes. Thematically, the various parallels and mirrors drawn by Egoyan are starkly sucessful and the themes explored are meticulously covered and intriguing. The atmosphere of mourning that pervades the narrative renders the film thoroughly immersive when laid along the serene pacing. Hence brilliant.
Deeply affecting even 10 years later. I hope it doesn't stand as the last great film Egoyan makes, but 'The Sweet Hereafter' is easily one of the most successful novel-to-film adaptations I've ever seen.