Synopsis by Jason Ankeny
Atom Egoyan's haunting adaptation of the Russell Banks novel The Sweet Hereafter was the Canadian filmmaker's most successful film to date, taking home a Special Grand Jury Prize at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and scoring a pair of Academy Award nominations, including Best Director. Restructured to fit Egoyan's signature mosaic narrative style, the story concerns the cultural aftershocks which tear apart a small British Columbia town in the wake of a school-bus accident which leaves a number of local children dead. Ian Holm stars as Mitchell Stephens, a big-city lawyer who arrives in the interest of uniting the survivors to initiate a lawsuit; his maneuvering only drives the community further apart, reopening old wounds and jeopardizing any hopes of emotional recovery. Like so many of Egoyan's features, The Sweet Hereafter is a serious and painfully honest exploration of family grief; no character is immune from the sense of utter devastation which grips the film, not even the attorney, whose interests are in part motivated by his own remorse over the fate of his daughter, an HIV-positive drug addict.
accident, addiction, child, disaster, drowning, drugs, lawsuit, lawyer, rampage, scandal, school-bus
High Artistic Quality, High Production Values