8:00 PM, 7th April, 1999
The Sweet Hereafter is a sensitive, interesting, if not a little slow, portrayal of a bus crash that kills 14 school children in a small town in British Columbia.
The story follows a lawyer that enters the town intent on creating a lawsuit against the makers of the bus. While he is not totally moved by the terrible event that occurs in this small town, he still acts sympathetically towards the towns folk. It is initially difficult to determine whether he is a greedy con artist out for a buck or whether he is actually moved to action by the crash. Approaching the parents of the children killed, the lawyer begins to become aware of the true nature of the town, and what is revealed is not always what may be apparent at first.
That is about the extent of the complexity of the story line supporting this film, which is perhaps more concerned with human emotions and relations than legal technicality. This film has won many an award including one at Cannes recently, and has been generally been classed as an art film, as those behind it have previously been associated with that genre. But if the idea of an art film is film for film's sake, with no set story line, The Sweet Hereafter does not comfortably sit within this category, as it does generally follow a story line, and a realistic and relevant one at that, which mirrors many real life tragedies. However, the treatment and resolution of this plot is not quite mainstream either. Perhaps this film serves as a warning of the dangers of pigeon holing films into categories, rather than just enjoying them on an individual basis. This may, however, make finding a video down at the local store a right pain in the arse.