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A 2010 supernatural drama directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by Steven Spielberg. It follows three parallel storylines involving people who have been touched by death in one way or another, and their search for meaning in what may or may not be the afterlife.
Matt Damon stars as George, a man who has Psychic Powers (he can communicate with the dead) and was once a celebrity, but prefers a blue-collar life in a factory. Cecile de France plays a reporter who is badly injured in the Indian tsunami of 2004 and suffers a Near-Death Experience. Later, she finds herself obsessed with the afterlife and is unable to work. Frankie and George McLaren play a young London boy whose twin brother dies in a tragic accident and tries to find a way to communicate with him.
The movie doesn't actually answer any questions about the afterlife, and has often been called more of a movie about why people want there to be an afterlife.
This film includes examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Melanie was abused by her father when she was younger.
- Actor Allusion: This isn't the first time Matt Damon has played someone choosing to ignore his gifts to work at a construction site.
- As Himself: Derek Jacobi appears as himself at a literary festival and also as the voice of an audiobook, doing readings of Charles Dickens.
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: A major reason why George considers his psychic abilities to be a curse rather than a gift. Imagine accidentally discovering the girl who you've been flirting with was sexually abused by her father. Blessed with Suck, indeed.
- Blessed with Suck: George certainly appears to see himself this way, for very good reason (see directly above).
- Determinator: Marcus waits outside George's hotel for hours just so he can get a reading done.
- Everything Is Online: Marcus discovers George's old website and later recognizes him at the literary fair.
- Flat Earth Atheist: Notably averted. One of the scientists Marie visits during her research into Near Death Experiences is an avowed atheist who nevertheless believes in an afterlife.
- Going for the Big Scoop: Averted. While she is a reporter, Marie is caught in the tsunami because she wants to buy presents for her boyfriend/producer's children, and later can't function at her job because she keeps daydreaming about her Near-Death Experience.
- Hyperlink Story
- I Just Want to Be Normal: George, oh so very much.
- Imagine Spot: George's kiss with Marie at the end. Or was it a precognition?
- I See Dead People: George again.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A variation. The movie never goes out and says that George is communicating with the dead. Since he only tells people things they already know, some people have speculated that he's really only reading people's memories of their loved ones and then telling them what they want to hear.
- Meet Cute: George meets Melanie when they are teamed up together during an italian cooking class.
- Near-Death Experience
- Never Trust a Trailer: The movie was marketed as a supernatual thriller in the vein of The Sixth Sense, it is closer to a slowly meditative drama.
- One-Scene Wonder: Richard Kind, Bryce Dallas Howard, and several others. The smaller parts are extremely well cast.
- Parental Abandonment: Marcus's mother goes into rehab just after her son dies, leaving Marcus in foster care.
- Phony Psychic: Marcus goes to a few while trying to communicate with his brother.
- Directing Against Type: Clint Eastwood is not known for either ensemble dramas, disaster sequences, or supernatural stories. Screenwriter Peter Morgan is more well known for writing biopics like Frost/Nixon, The Queen, and The Last King of Scotland.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: The phony psychics.