For the first hour of HEREAFTER, Clint had be transfixed. Inter-cutting three stories, one French, one British, and one American, made the movie fascinating. Much of the plot was told through subtext, and the characters drew me in. Two of the three stories used actors unknown to American audiences, which made it seem real, even though the film is obviously a fantasy.
But then, at the halfway point, the film falls apart completely. I'm convinced that there is a way to cut out half an hour , restructure the movie, and make it a million times better (although there would still be literally no ending to the film). Halfway through, the film becomes about Matt Damon and Ron Howard's daughter. She overacts, as she always has, and the dialogue goes into very long, slow expository mode to tell the audience everything that had already been told through plot and action in the last half hour. It's like a different director took over at this point. Or maybe Clint just couldn't bear to cut his friend Ron's daughter out of the movie.
The French story is interesting and well acted, and the British story is even better. The film opens with a big FX sequence from the French story, which is dramatic, but I think it would have opened better with the British story, which is much more emotional, and would have built nicely to a climax with the intro to the French story. The American story needs to be cut way down, with Bryce Howard all but eliminated, and a better plot device needs to be contrived for the three stories to intertwine.
Even with all this, the movie is essentially lacking a third act, with no resolution to anything. This is without a doubt one of the most unsatisfying films I have ever seen. It's a shame, I'm a big fan of Eastwood, but he blew it on this one. I almost wonder if he took this crappy script only as an excuse to shoot in three cities in three countries as a paid vacation, as Woody Allen has been doing the past few films.