The Sweet Hereafter is a classic Atom Egoyan film from 1997. Egoyan’s narrative is emotional and strong. He deftly parallels the grief of Ian Holm’s character over his destroyed family with the grief of the the small community who’s children are lost or injured in a school bus crash.
Non-linear narrative is something which has come to be more and more common-place. Television has succeeded at this structure with Lost but more often than not, it fails when countless TV writers don’t know how to make a good teaser and instead jump to the climax of the show. Egoyan is able to successfully navigate the story in a non-linear manner, which allows the audience to effectively build a compassion for the characters by seeing their post-crash grief before we see the actual destruction. In addition, we see Holm’s grief interwoven through the film’s timeline, and as such, the emotional climax for his character comes as the bus crashes.
Why had I never seen this film before?