The Sweet Hereafter is a film you don’t watch for enjoyment, it’s not something you toss on the TV on a rainy day; it’s one of those films you watch when you want to feel, when you want your heart to break, when you want to be reassured that everything will not be alright. The Sweet Hereafter is a punishment of a movie, it is what could be described as paradoxical: people watch movies and TV shows to escape their everyday problems, to drown out the cries of starving children, homeless veterans, abused pets, and the mutilation of third world countries. When we turn on the television or head to the cinema we put on blinders for a few hours and ask to be whisked away from all the disappointment the world shoves down our throat every day.
The most perfect description that I have read was on IMDb’s trivia page: Premiere voted this movie as one of “The 25 Most Dangerous Movies.” (In the description for the list, the magazine stated, “These are movies about which you could say, “That’s Not Entertainment.” They’re not “rides” or “diversions.” They are galvanizing experiences that place squarely in your face all the stuff Hollywood usually presumes you go to the movies to get away from. Films that rearrange your head, that challenge your bedrock ideas about life and love and the big sleep. Consciousness-expanders, in other words, but rarely in a pleasant way. Thank God for them.”)
It is a brilliant film that jumps around between plot lines and the story arc, but there is so much in the symbolism within the plot, arc, and voiceover that it seems to be a film you would need to watch twice, but would rather not. I cannot say I recommend the film, but that’s because it is so very heart-breaking and belief shattering, especially after you find out that the bus “accident” the story revolves around, actually happened in a small town in Texas in 1989. The reason I tell you, you may not want to watch this wildly, highly-rated film, is because I don’t know what has happened in your life, I do not know who you have lost within your lifetime or if you would want to be exposed to such wide spread lost. I know what lose feels like, and this film just reminds you of how difficult it is and rips open the delicate wound you innocently thought had closes momentarily.
The Sweet Hereafter is number 97 of my list of 100 films .