5. Matt Damon!: OK, we all knew this one was coming; Carol said as much in his last visit with Liz. But still, Damon is in an all-out war with Jon Hamm (see No. 4) for the title of "Likable Funny Guy Who Is Also A Serious Actor." And "I need you to Tivo Bones for me in case I survive" was one of my favorite lines of the night.
"Hereafter" cuts back and forth among these three stories in an increasingly gripping way. Especially involving as always is Damon, convincing as an everyman torn by the kinds of conflicts few people have to deal with. Can peace be made between the here and the hereafter? It's a question that can't be answered, but few directors have the ability to explore the possibilities as gracefully as this singular filmmaker approaching in his 80th year.
Matt Damon plays George, a lonely San Francisco man who tries mightily to deny his rare ability to hear dead people. He's somehow a conduit for the thoughts and feelings of the deceased, an ability he regards as a curse. A good-natured man seeking to forge a normal life, he makes a tentative romantic connection with Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard), but he can't escape his otherworldly "gift." Damon is superbly understated in the role.
Hereafter is a pensive saga that transcends death and lyrically examines our darkest fears and our most deeply held beliefs.
Though Hereafter begins with a stunningly staged tsunami, it's the quiet moments that draw us in. Matt Damon excels as George Lonegan, a San Francisco construction worker who has turned his back on his psychic gifts.
36. Matt Damon
AGE 40 CAREER B.O. $4.1 billion LAST THREE FILMS $258.7 million AVG. OPENING WEEKEND $23.9 million AVG. OPENING LAST THREE FILMS $11.1 million.
He's likely left the Bourne franchise behind, and although Damon remains in demand, his career has downshifted to well-regarded if low-grossing films (The Informant!, Invictus). But he's that rare elixir of Everyman and action hero. In the right project, he's golden.
NEXT Hereafter (Oct. 15) and True Grit (Dec. 25).