Friday, October 28, 2016

The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

Let’s Get Legal Movie #2

Synopsis: Double tragedy befalls small Canadian town: a school bus full of kids wipes out on an icy road, and then the ambulance-chasers arrive. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Through a skillful weaving of past and present, acclaimed director Atom Egoyan (Exotica, The Adjuster) examines the nature of the human spirit and its capacity for grief, loss and ultimately, redemption.” 

What Did I Learn?: 1) With enough rage and helplessness, love eventually turns to steaming piss. 2) The pied piper wasn’t mean – just very angry. 3) Something’s happening that’s taking our children away. 

Really?: I realize the coroner’s inquest, and the arrival of Mitchell Stephens (Ian Holm) is tearing the town apart, but Nicole’s (Sarah Polley) action near the end seems incredibly short-sighted and destructive. Why shouldn’t the families of the dead and paralyzed children be able to sue for compensation? This rubbed me the wrong way. 

Rating: I wanted to like The Sweet Hereafter, but I’ve never been a fan of Atom Egoyan’s work. While the TSH is well-written, and filled with complex characters and some impressive performances, it’s also incredibly dark, bitter, and difficult to watch in places. The Sweet Hereafter is a good film, but it certainly isn’t my cup of tea. 7.5/10 stars.

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