An Anglican Ghost Story

Theologically, “Hereafter” is unhelpful no matter what one’s beliefs may be. Straddling the fence between belief and non-belief, it does not say anything substantive about mortality. God, or any similar entity or force, is never mentioned. What can be gleaned is that, contrary to the opinion expressed by Marie’s boyfriend, the lights do not simply go out when we die—we are not immediately ushered into the eternal void. Some people, apparently, endure in a form that can communicate with the George Lonegan’s of this world. Further, the departed can intervene in the world in small ways.

Presenting the afterlife as a simple ghost story doesn’t give believers or doubters much intellectual sustenance. In general “Hereafter” studiously avoids anything that might be remotely inflammatory to either side.

Overall, the movie strikes me, if anything, as somewhat Anglican.

John P. McCarthy (America Magazine – review of Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter“).

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