After a tragic school-bus accident leaves 14 local children dead in a small town in British Columbia, city lawyer Mitchell Stephens (Holm) gently attempts to convince bereaved residents and parents to file a class-action suit, in hopes that it will bring closure and healing. The deeper he digs into their sorrow and the circumstances of the crash, however, the more he discovers about the community's secrets, as well as his own long-sublimated feelings of loss.
Why we love it
Told in an elliptical and mysterious manner, with partial flashbacks gradually unveiling the tragic central event, Egoyans poignant adaptation of the Russell Banks novel examines the devastating effects of grief on a quiet Canadian community. Beautifully handled by the Oscar-nominated director, the film benefits enormously from its unhurried pace, gorgeous location photography, and painful revelations, not to mention a first-rate cast. Polley is especially memorable as Nicole, a wheelchair-bound survivor with a family secret. Smart, touching, and inevitably haunting, “The Sweet Hereafter” is a mesmerizing movie to revisit and ruminate on.