Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. I can think of no other movie that has dared to analyze grief and its aftermath with such naked honesty and precision.
  2. The power and reach of this undertaking are formidable.
  3. 100
    This is one of the best films of the year, an unflinching lament for the human condition.
  4. Masterpiece is the right word for The Sweet Hereafter. It is extraordinary: a poem of familial pain, a song of broken embraces. [25 December 1997, Tempo, p.1]
  5. This poetic and compassionate drama by Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan combines the intricate structure of his earlier movies with an emotional power that raises his remarkable career to a whole new level.
  6. Leaves you shaken and ecstatic at the same time, transported by the vision of a major film artist.
  7. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    It's the survivors of this tragedy that must make peace with their fate, and the film finally rests with them.
  8. 80
    Egoyan's films have always been about the intricacies and basic strangeness of human relationships, rather than about plot or snappy one-liners, but a new moral urgency seems to invigorate this film.
  9. Egoyan understands how potent a deliberate pace can be, how effective it is in making already powerful material strong enough to tear at your heart.
  10. 70
    For all its mystery and its stylistic finesse, there is something vaguely plodding about The Sweet Hereafter.
  11. Reviewed by: Andrea C. Basora
    A moving, complex and dreamlike tale.
  12. 100
    This is truly a great film -- easily one of 1997's best.
  13. 90
    The movie has a crispness about it, an unwillingness to succumb to sentimentality.
  14. Egoyan's voice is so clear and loving, his vision so forgiving and his film so intelligent that you come away refreshed.
  15. Reviewed by: Sarah Kerr
    Throughout the film Egoyan's affectlessness has been whispering to us that life is a puzzle without a solution. The price for this lesson is that his characters seem like mere pieces in that puzzle.
  16. 100
    It's all presented in a detached style that's ultimately much more moving and truthful than any heartstring-slashing weeper. This may be Egoyan's best work yet, and it's surely one of the best films of the year.
  17. Any film that provides Ian Holm with a large role is off to a good start. The Sweet Hereafter gets off to that start and keeps going. [Dec 8, 1997]
  18. The filmmaker creates schematic, intuitive images that hauntingly crystallize the characters' situations.
  19. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    A solemn, subtly structured, beautifully acted and ultimately hypnotic movie.
  20. 70
    Piercing, sweetly melancholy and acted with a breathtaking eye for nuance.
  21. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A little movie almost perfectly realized.
  22. Reviewed by: Brendan Kelly
    Canadian writer-director Atom Egoyan's most ambitious work to date, The Sweet Hereafter is a rich, complex meditation on the impact of a terrible tragedy on a small town.
  23. The chronological looseness is part of the pleasure of the piece, which magically reassembles in the last reel into something strong, lucid and compellingly powerful.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. Sep 9, 2011
    The value of human life and feelings are visualized in a picturesque manner after 'SCHINDLER'S LIST'. It remembers everyone about the central axis of our living community, it's nothing but the one to one help. Atom Egoyan simply says, there is no compensation for real love and affection towards the loved ones in this human ecosystem. ' THE SWEET HEREAFTER ' leaves it's trace as a best man-made art of its decade. Full Review »
  2. GerronK
    Nov 14, 2005
    Poetic. Impeccable and absolutely powerful. Brutally harsh and at times, too hard to take in, this is a masterpiece beyond words. I ranked this movie #6 on my Top 50 Movies of all time, so that speeks on its profound effect it had on me. Full Review »
  3. Dec 30, 2013
    Emotionally shattering, it's an amazing meditation on feeling, guilt, blame, and the human condition. Not being able to blame a tragedy on something, something certain, something definite, is what drives us to madness and sadness. Full Review »